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 5-foot-11, 165-pound Lassiter is ranked No. 11 among rising senior recruits in the state, according to the 247 composite rankings. Ben Thomas |, al, "American Christian 2021 duo turning heads of college recruiters," 13 May 2020 Nwokobia is listed as a three-star player, per the 247Sports composite rankings. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "Skyline safety Isaiah Nwokobia commits to SMU," 1 May 2020 The composite PMI Index, which combines services and manufacturing activities, dropped to a record low of 7.2 in April, compared with 50.6 in March. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "Covid-19 has hurt India the most among the world’s top 10 economies," 6 May 2020 Stocks rise: The Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 1.5% and the Nasdaq composite index rose 1.1%. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 27-28," 29 Apr. 2020 The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index dropped 3.7 percent. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "U.S. Stocks Plunge as Coronavirus Crisis Spreads," 24 Feb. 2020 On Friday, a surprisingly strong report on the jobs market drove the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite index to records, even as Democrats pushed ahead with the impeachment inquiry. Hope Yen And Calvin Woodward,, "Fact check: Did Trump hear the Islamic State leader die ‘whimpering and crying ... like a dog'? The Pentagon has no idea what he’s talking about.," 2 Nov. 2019 The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 1.9 percent., "Trump says US, China agree to partial trade deal - The Boston Globe," 12 Oct. 2019 Aside from the drop in the Dow, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, a broader measure of stocks, was down about 2.4%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index dropped about 2.7%. Damian Paletta,, "Dow plunges 800 points as recession fears mount," 14 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Without a guiding philosophy, Senator Rodham turns out to be a surreal composite of women in politics. Laura Marsh, The New Republic, "The Flawed Fantasy of a Different Hillary Clinton," 19 May 2020 The Nasdaq composite gained 80.55, or 0.9%, to 8,943.72 after erasing its earlier loss of 1.8%. Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise, Alex Veiga, USA TODAY, "Dow: Stock market rallies back from early drop on Thursday," 14 May 2020 This color picture is a composite of three images taken at different wavelengths. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 30 years of discoveries and awe-inspiring images," 24 Apr. 2020 Gaffney says in an author’s note that some characters are composites. Jessica Lustig, New York Times, "Hired to Tame Horses, She Bonded With the People, Too," 4 Feb. 2020 According to Bellizzi, Howard’s character is a composite of three of these dealers. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "How Uncut Gems Finds the Beauty in Schmuck Style," 10 Dec. 2019 Percussive and soulful house music with just a hint of grit, the track is the perfect composite of both Vega and the Brothers’ styles. Krystal Rodriguez, Billboard, "Louie Vega & The Martinez Brothers Deliver a Sonic Love Letter to New York On 'Let It Go': Exclusive," 14 Nov. 2019 The Nasdaq composite also gained 1.4%, to 7,982.47. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Asian shares mixed on US jobs, eyes on China trade talks," 6 Oct. 2019 The royal visit depicted in the film, however, may be a composite of different visits, rather than taking inspiration solely from one specific example. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The Real History Behind the Downton Abbey Movie," 20 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq composite all plunged more than 7% on Monday. Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, "Pressure builds on White House to roll back tariffs to stem economic fallout from coronavirus," 10 Mar. 2020 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

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

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Composite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 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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