com·​pos·​ite | \ käm-ˈpä-zət How to pronounce composite (audio) , kəm-ˈpä-, especially British ˈkäm-pə-zit How to pronounce composite (audio) \

Definition of composite

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : made up of distinct parts or elements a composite photograph composite materials : such as
a capitalized : relating to or being a modification of the Corinthian order combining angular Ionic volutes with the acanthus-circled bell of the Corinthian
b : of or relating to a very large family (Compositae synonym Asteraceae) of dicotyledonous herbs, shrubs, and trees often considered to be the most highly evolved plants and characterized by florets arranged in dense heads that resemble single flowers
c : factorable into two or more prime factors other than 1 and itself 8 is a positive composite integer.
2 : combining the typical or essential characteristics of individuals making up a group … the composite man called the Poet …— Richard Poirier … the knight was a composite portrait of men whom Chaucer personally knew.— John Livingston Lowes
3 of a statistical hypothesis : specifying a range of values for one or more statistical parameters — compare simple sense 10
4 of a video signal : having two signal components (such as chrominance and luminance) combined in a single channel For years, commercial television equipment has relied upon composite video cabling, which carries both brightness (luminance) and color (chroma) in a single cable. Problem is, before your television can produce a picture from this signal, it must be heavily filtered, resulting in serious degradation of image quality.Home Theater Buyer's Guide — compare component entry 2 sense 2
5 : an artist's sketch or digitally generated image of a criminal suspect usually created from witnesses's descriptions and used to help police identify and apprehend the suspect a police composite Police have released a composite of the suspect based on a description from the victim of the April 4 robbery.— Jim Jaworski



Definition of composite (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something composite : compound a composite of two images
2 : a composite (see composite entry 1 sense 1b) plant daisies, dandelions, and other composites
4 : a solid material which is composed of two or more substances having different physical characteristics and in which each substance retains its identity while contributing desirable properties to the whole especially : a structural material made of plastic within which a fibrous material (such as silicon carbide) is embedded


composited; compositing

Definition of composite (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make composite or into something composite composited four soil samples composite the images

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Other Words from composite


compositely adverb

Examples of composite in a Sentence

Adjective the movie's special effects included the use of many composite photographs Noun a composite of diverse communities He spotted a man who resembled the police composite. Verb wood chips can be composited or sold as mulch
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The automaker is teaming up with Bcomp, a Swiss company that has created a composite material using flax to replace plastic panels. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Polestar Builds Environmental Cred with Flax, Recycled Plastic Interiors," 11 Feb. 2020 Curiosity took images on September 9, 2015, of Mount Sharp, a hematite-rich ridge, a plain full of clay minerals to create a composite and rounded buttes high in sulfate minerals. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "New images show Mars as you've never seen it before," 20 Sep. 2019 King is ranked as a three-star prospect on the 247sports composite and as the No. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Football recruiting notebook: Avon four-star Blake Fisher all-in on Notre Dame," 30 May 2019 Crown molding, which is installed where the walls meet the ceiling, is available in an array of styles, in both wood and composite materials. Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "What A Living Room Renovation Actually Costs," 13 July 2018 Officials pay close attention to IHS Markit ’s composite Purchasing Managers Index as a timely measure of activity, and economists expect that to point to a further easing of momentum in April when the report is released Monday. Wsj Staff, WSJ, "Global Economy Week Ahead: U.S. GDP, ECB and Bank of Japan Meetings," 22 Apr. 2018 Paddles are made of wood or composite materials; the ball resembles a wiffleball. azcentral, "AZ Memo: Off-white streets can beat Phoenix heat; group spending at least $100K on SRP races; pickleball at sea?," 30 Mar. 2018 The modern axe and hatchet consist of a steel head attached to a wood or composite handle. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "The Difference Between an Axe And a Hatchet, Explained," 3 Dec. 2015 The production rate of the carbon-composite plane will return to 12 a month in 2023, Boeing said. Julie Johnsson, Fortune, "Boeing reports historic earnings loss as 737 MAX costs surpass $18 billion," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The pessimism echoes a decline on Wall Street that snapped a three-day streak of record highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite. Washington Post, "Asian stocks edge mostly lower after China virus cases spike," 14 Feb. 2020 First police sketch: In July 2017, police released a composite drawing based on the testimony of eyewitnesses who saw a man walking near the bridge on the Delphi Historic Trails at about the time the girls are believed to have disappeared. Dwight Adams, Indianapolis Star, "Delphi murders: What we know about the case," 12 Feb. 2020 Over the past 12 months, Lilly stock is up more than 23% compared with about 14% for the NYSE composite. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Eli Lilly smashed Wall Street projections thanks to its diabetes drugs," 31 Jan. 2020 Overall, Wisconsin's average composite remained relatively flat over the for years, dipping slightly to 19.6 points out of the maximum 36 for the 2018-'19 school year. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Analysis of ACT results finds fewer than half of Wisconsin high school juniors college-ready," 31 Jan. 2020 The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite closed down 1.77 and 1.59 percent, respectively. Thomas Heath,, "Global markets sink on slowing growth, coronavirus fears; Dow drops 603," 31 Jan. 2020 In the last couple of decades, the manufacture of these kinds of composites has, ironically, turned an ancient building material into what’s really the only new structural material in the last century, says Ramage. Matt Simon, Wired, "Building High-Rises Out of Wood Can Help Save the Planet," 27 Jan. 2020 Those results could reignite efforts to use graphene in a wide range of composites. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Electricity turns garbage into graphene," 27 Jan. 2020 The Nasdaq composite recovered from an early slide, gaining 7.24 points, or 0.1%, to 8,952.88. Alex Veiga, USA TODAY, "After a month of record highs, US stocks end nearly flat at early close for Christmas," 24 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Dow Jones industrial average climbed more than 480 points and the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite each hit an all-time high. Alex Veiga,, "Stocks extend rally, sending S&P 500, Nasdaq to all-time highs," 5 Feb. 2020 The senior linebacker also moved up to a four-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ranking. Adam Lichtenstein,, "‘He’s like a 10-year pro’ — Ruben Hyppolite emerging as a leader for McArthur," 31 July 2019 Google This feature also taps into a burst of multiple images, and then uses Google’s Pixel Visual Core chip to composite a blur-free photo. Jon Phillips, PCWorld, "Google Pixel 3: The 5 features that matter most," 9 Oct. 2018 Smart marvels at the hype around Georgia’s most recent recruiting class, which snapped Alabama’s seven-year stranglehold on the top spot in the 247Sports composite ranking. Andy Staples,, "Kirby Smart Won't Let the Search for New Leaders Change Georgia's End Goal," 26 Mar. 2018 Facebook's issues have hurt the Nasdaq composite the most. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "Stock market rattled by Facebook, other worries," 19 Mar. 2018 Georgia, currently No. 2 in the 247Sports composite behind Ohio State, has six with five-star ratings. Michael Casagrande,, "Why Alabama's run of 7 straight No. 1 recruiting classes is in serious trouble," 5 Feb. 2018 Miami’s recruiting class has a good chance to finish in the top 5 of the 247Sports composite ranking and perhaps no group is stronger than the Hurricanes running backs. David Wilson Diehards, ajc, "Miami recruiting: How Mark Walton’s injury could affect Hurricanes’ future at RB," 10 Oct. 2017 FILE PHOTO (EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image numbers (L) 630131844 and 619019694) In this composite image a comparision has been made between Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea (L) and Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal., "Chelsea vs Arsenal Preview as Champions Prepare to Meet London Rivals in Beijing," 19 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'composite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of composite


1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1923, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for composite

Adjective and Noun

Latin compositus, past participle of componere — see compose

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Time Traveler for composite

Time Traveler

The first known use of composite was in 1563

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Statistics for composite

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Composite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for composite



Financial Definition of composite

What It Is

A composite is a grouping of securities, indexes or other items.

How It Works

One of the most well-known composites in the finance world is the Dow Jones Composite Average, which is  a price-weighted average of the 65 companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Dow Jones Transportation Average, and the Dow Jones Utility Average. The index is price-weighted, meaning that the stocks with the highest prices have the most influence on the index.

Why It Matters

Composites are broad measures and usually a convenient way to evaluate the performance of a wide array of securities, other indexes or other items. For instance, the Dow Jones Composite Index gives a good indication of the overall direction of the largest companies in the United States: It includes some of the titans of the transportation, utility, financial services, technology, retail, entertainment and consumer goods industries. As such, the index is not just a measure of market performance; some consider it an economic indicator as well.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce composite (audio) How to pronounce composite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of composite

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: made of different parts or elements



English Language Learners Definition of composite (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is made up of different parts
US : a drawing of someone who is wanted by the police that is made using descriptions given by witnesses


com·​pos·​ite | \ kəm-ˈpä-zət How to pronounce composite (audio) \

Kids Definition of composite

: made up of different parts or elements Concrete is a composite material made up of cement, sand, stone, and water.

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