composition

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

Definition of composition

1a : 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
2a : 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

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Other Words from composition

compositional \ ˌkäm-​pə-​ˈzish-​nəl , -​ˈzi-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
compositionally adverb

Synonyms for composition

Synonyms

number, opus, piece, work

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Examples of composition in a Sentence

the changing composition of the country's population the composition of a chemical compound The teacher reminded us to hand in our compositions at the end of class.
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Recent Examples on the Web

His ragtime compositions and symphonies are wonderful music. Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times, "Philharmonia Northwest presents old and new music created entirely by Seattle composers," 14 Nov. 2018 But even with new material composition, the requirements remain the same: superior moisture resistance and durability. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Use a Chef's Knife," 7 Nov. 2018 Given its brightness, researchers are hoping to next look at the mass of the planet, which could tell something about its composition. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Exoplanet 'twice the size of Earth' discovered 145 light-years away," 6 Sep. 2018 Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. Devon Elizabeth, Glamour, "The Obamas Just Published a Beautiful Tribute to Aretha Franklin," 16 Aug. 2018 Those who do are rewarded with a meticulous composition rendering everything from oregano to hydrangeas to foxtail and clematis. Alex Ronan, Vogue, "This Artist’s Flower “Fossils” Are a New Way to Bring Nature Indoors," 27 July 2018 One test found that the dust's mineralogy is consistent with the known composition of lunar soil. Kristine Phillips, ajc, "Neil Armstrong gave her a vial of moon dust, she says. She's suing so NASA won't take it.," 12 June 2018 The Property Brothers star first surprised his new wife with the sentimental composition on the morning of their wedding in May. Megan Stein, PEOPLE.com, "Drew Scott Serenades Wife Linda with a Love Song He Wrote Himself — See the Music Video," 4 June 2018 The vigorous asymmetry of Chapelle’s composition and his breezy, sketchlike draftsmanship not only reflect contemporaneous Rococo painters like François Boucher, but seem to prefigure early 20th-century poster design. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, "‘Masterpieces of French Faience: Selections From the Sidney R. Knafel Collection’ Review: Not Dishwasher Safe," 1 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of composition

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for composition

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

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Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for composition

The first known use of composition was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for composition

composition

noun

English Language Learners Definition of composition

: 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

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

Kids Definition of composition

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

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 sense 3, compromise

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