com·​pos·​ite | \käm-ˈpä-zət, kəm-ˈpä-, especially British ˈkäm-pə-zit \

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



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 daisys, 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


the movie's special effects included the use of many composite photographs


a composite of diverse communities He spotted a man who resembled the police composite.


wood chips can be composited or sold as mulch
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Privacy - Terms Anyone who recognizes the composite sketches of the suspect or his vehicle should contact Grand Prairie police or Crime Stoppers at 972-988-8477. Prescotte Stokes Iii, star-telegram, "Woman pulled over by a cop impersonator and sexually assaulted, police say," 18 June 2018 The aluminum alloys or composite material used for the wings are designed to withstand being exposed to the elements, and the large surface area would require many gallons of paint, adding substantially to the weight of the airplane. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: All about airline paint jobs," 3 June 2018 And even the cheapest ones are solid wood, compared to most new doors which are either hollow or made from some sort of composite material. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A.’s doors, windows, hardware from old homes finding new lives," 4 May 2018 There are fiberglass shutters now made of vinyl or composite wood material, but are easier to maintain and won’t crack, split or rot. Brian Sodoma And Clare Gersh, azcentral, "Boost curb appeal by painting accents on the exterior of your home," 2 May 2018 One more popular feature homeowners love are the composite materials for decks. Valerie Sweeten, Houston Chronicle, "Outdoor entertaining features create fun, enjoyment," 23 Apr. 2018 Authorities released a composite sketch of the suspect that was based on DNA modeling rather than eyewitness descriptions. Washington Post, "Police, FBI seeking Washington-area serial rapist," 19 June 2018 The site produces a composite carbon material for ballistic missiles, some of which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, says Schmerler, who analyzed the images with Middlebury colleague Jeffrey Lewis. Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, "Satellite Images Hint North Korea Won’t Disarm Anytime Soon," 5 July 2018 Unlike cement, wood is already a composite material. The Economist, "Making buildings, cars and planes from materials based on plant fibres," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Nasdaq composite rose 159 points, or 2.3 percent, to 7,242. Marley Jay, The Seattle Times, "Stocks surge as Powell hints at slower interest rate hikes," 28 Nov. 2018 The composite showed a man with blond hair, blue eyes and a pale complexion. Kathleen Foody, Fox News, "Colorado police make arrest in 30-year-old slaying of woman," 20 Sep. 2018 Missing from the set’s liner notes is whether songs on the original album were complete takes or composites spliced together from the set’s outtakes. Marc Myers, WSJ, "‘Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills’ Review: A Classic Album’s Untold Story," 20 Nov. 2018 So Anikeeva and her team built biological telecom cables, bundles of separate channels (for light, fluid, and electricity) surrounded by a clear composite. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 That whole package is coated in a polymer that responds to changes in temperature; at around 22⁰C, the composite is a thick gel. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Tiny magnets will escort ions out of rare material from a shipwreck," 24 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, athletes at the Winter Olympics especially benefit from advances in tools like carbon fiber composite skis, aerodynamic speedskating suits, clap skates, and warm, lightweight outerwear. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte broke doping rules. It happens far more than you think.," 24 July 2018 New railing for a 10 x 12-foot deck starts at $400 for wood; $1,600 for aluminum; $2,560 for composites; $2,880 for cables; and $3,820 for glass. Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "What A Deck Renovation Actually Costs," 13 July 2018 The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.1 percent to 7,433.85. Kelvin Chan, The Seattle Times, "Asian shares advance as markets mull North Korea, Italy, oil," 27 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 In the same 247Sports composite ranking, Herbert was 39th. Andrew Greif,, "Oregon QB Justin Herbert, with help from Mannings, says his confidence has improved most," 14 July 2017 COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State defensive end commit Brenton Cox of Stockbridge, Ga., earned a fifth star in his 247Sports composite ranking on Tuesday, giving Urban Meyer two five-star defensive line pledges in his 2018 recruiting class. Ari Wasserman,, "Micah Parsons and more: Looking at Ohio State's top remaining defensive line targets," 31 May 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


Latin compositus, past participle of componere — see compose


see composite entry 1

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Time Traveler for composite

The first known use of composite was in 1563

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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



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

: a drawing of someone who is wanted by the police that is made using descriptions given by witnesses


com·​pos·​ite | \kəm-ˈpä-zət \

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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Comments on composite

What made you want to look up composite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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