composition

play
noun com·po·si·tion \ ˌkäm-pə-ˈzi-shən \

Definition of composition

1 a :the act or process of composing; specifically :arrangement into specific proportion or relation and especially into artistic form
  • the painting's unique composition
b (1) :the arrangement of type for printing
  • hand composition
(2) :the production of type or typographic characters (as in photocomposition) arranged for printing
2 a :the manner in which something is composed
b :general makeup
  • the changing ethnic composition of the city's population
c :the qualitative and quantitative makeup of a chemical compound
  • the chemical composition of a polymer
3 :mutual settlement or agreement
  • The two parties came to a composition.
4 :a product of mixing or combining various elements or ingredients
  • a composition of rubber and cork
5 :an intellectual creation: such as
a :a piece of writing; especially :a school exercise in the form of a brief essay
  • wrote a composition on the role of the police in our society
b :a written piece of music especially of considerable size and complexity
  • Her composition for piano and flute was played at the recital.
6 :the quality or state of being compound
7 :the operation of forming a composite function; also :composite function

compositional

play \ˌkäm-pə-ˈzish-nəl, -ˈzi-shə-nᵊl\ adjective

compositionally

adverb

Examples of composition in a Sentence

  1. the changing composition of the country's population

  2. the composition of a chemical compound

  3. The teacher reminded us to hand in our compositions at the end of class.

Recent Examples of composition from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of composition

Middle English composicioun, from Anglo-French composicion, from Latin composition-, compositio, from componere — see compose


COMPOSITION Defined for English Language Learners

composition

play
noun

Definition of composition for English Language Learners

  • : the way in which something is put together or arranged : the combination of parts or elements that make up something

  • : a piece of writing; especially : a brief essay written as a school assignment

  • : a written piece of music and especially one that is very long or complex


COMPOSITION Defined for Kids

composition

play
noun com·po·si·tion \ ˌkäm-pə-ˈzi-shən \

Definition of composition for Students

1 :a short piece of writing done as a school exercise
2 :the act of writing words or music
3 :the manner in which the parts of a thing are put together :makeup, constitution
  • The president discussed the population's changing composition.
  • Each rock has a slightly different composition.
4 :a literary, musical, or artistic production

Law Dictionary

composition

noun com·po·si·tion

legal Definition of composition

:an agreement between an insolvent debtor and several creditors whereby partial payment of the debts discharges in full the original obligations — compare accord 3, compromise


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a ram's-horn trumpet used in Judaism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!