com·​post | \ ˈkäm-ˌpōst How to pronounce compost (audio) , especially British -ˌpäst \

Definition of compost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land


composted; composting; composts

Definition of compost (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to convert (a material, such as plant debris) to compost

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Other Words from compost


compostable \ ˈkäm-​ˌpō-​stə-​bəl How to pronounce compostable (audio) \ adjective
composter \ ˈkäm-​ˌpō-​stər How to pronounce composter (audio) \ noun

Examples of compost in a Sentence

Verb We compost leaves in our backyard.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Wax paper and unbleached parchment paper will safely biodegrade in your compost bin at home. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This Stone Paper Is Cool. Its Environmental Impact Is Complicated.," 26 Nov. 2019 Thanks to the end of California’s long drought, more fruit has fallen from trees or is tossed into the compost piles that rats love. The Economist, "A Californian bill would make it harder to control the state’s thriving rats," 21 Nov. 2019 Throw the potato strips into the compost, and clean up your workspace. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "Make a Potato Shrink--with Saltwater," 9 Jan. 2020 That’s because trees are turned into wood chips or compost, and some nonorganic materials can ruin a chipping machine. oregonlive, "Is your holiday greenery turning brown? Recycle it to help wildlife, wetlands, scouts," 5 Jan. 2020 This investigation involves assessing and sampling soil, animal droppings, compost, water, and other potential environmental sources at the ranches of this grower. Georgia Slater,, "E. Coli Outbreak Continues as CDC Confirms 138 Cases Across 25 States Traced to Romaine Lettuce," 20 Dec. 2019 Each stands before three trays filled with trash, and spends the day sorting it into trays for recycling, compost, and landfill. Wired, "Alphabet's Dream of an 'Everyday Robot' Is Just Out of Reach," 21 Nov. 2019 Get involved in your community Speak up and encourage your community to compost, ramp up their recycling efforts or go zero waste, Boeve encouraged. Renee Morad, NBC News, "5 easy ways to make a difference on climate change," 20 Sep. 2019 The tons of compost, created by decaying leaves, will be sold to wholesalers and commercial businesses at a rate set by Town Manager Michael Maniscalco. Peter Marteka,, "South Windsor will sell compost to offset costs of residential leaf collection," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Why not just grind the damn tree up and compost the chips. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "The world is changing fast. It’s time for Alaska gardeners to try hügelkultur.," 26 Dec. 2019 The organizers made a concerted effort to reduce single-serving waste and to compost and recycle. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "When you aren’t over the hill, but a hike sounds way more fun than a music festival," 15 Aug. 2019 But what if residents could instead individually compost their single-use items in the hot, humid conditions of the Caribbean? Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "This Caribbean island is on track to become the world’s first 'hurricane-proof' country," 19 Nov. 2019 Seaweed, kelp and the like can also be applied, though these might do better after composted. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Get the most out of this warm November for your lawn and garden," 7 Nov. 2019 Park District of Oak Park staff held their annual Great Pumpkin Smash the evening of Nov. 2, which provided a little fun before composting the pumpkins. Steve Schering,, "‘Pumpkin smash’ turns Halloween jack-o’-lanterns into compost at Oak Park sledding hill," 4 Nov. 2019 About a dozen people, most of them volunteers, brought thousands of individual items inside, laid them on butcher paper to dry them, separated out the notes and composted the flowers. Ben Sales,, "Preserving Pittsburgh mementos has become a labor of remembrance," 29 Oct. 2019 Nutrient supply comes from leaf and straw mulch, legume cover crops (whose roots are rich in nitrogen-fixing microbes), composted greens and animal manure, biochar and soil microbes. Debal Deb, Scientific American, "The Struggle to Save Heirloom Rice in India," 16 Oct. 2019 Beekeepers, composting experts and other industry leaders will show their goods and teach children about various aspects of farming. Daily Pilot, "O.C. Fair has a farm, and it’s turning 30 — Centennial Farm will ring in milestone with birthday barbecue," 3 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compost.' 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 compost


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1829, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compost


Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin compostum, from Latin, neuter of compositus, compostus, past participle of componere

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Time Traveler for compost

Time Traveler

The first known use of compost was in 1587

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Statistics for compost

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compost.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for compost


How to pronounce compost (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of compost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a decayed mixture of plants (such as leaves and grass) that is used to improve the soil in a garden



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

: to change (plant materials) into compost


com·​post | \ ˈkäm-ˌpōst How to pronounce compost (audio) \

Kids Definition of compost

: decayed organic material (as of leaves and grass) used to improve soil especially for growing crops

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More from Merriam-Webster on compost

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compost

Spanish Central: Translation of compost

Nglish: Translation of compost for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compost for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about compost

Comments on compost

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


to express in a more acceptable way

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