com·​post | \ˈkäm-ˌpōst, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from compost


compostable \ˈkäm-​ˌpō-​stə-​bəl \ adjective
composter \ˈkäm-​ˌpō-​stər \ noun

Examples of compost in a Sentence


We compost leaves in our backyard.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gardeners are at work everywhere, churning compost and arranging horticultural fleece over willow wigwams. Jo Rodgers, Vogue, "Getting Back to Nature (With a Bit of Champagne) at Raymond Blanc’s Luxe English Gardening School," 6 Aug. 2018 Farmers are also waiting for possible regulations from the state’s Department of the Environment, which is studying compost and mulch practices. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Council ends Howard's contentious mulch debate, pulls legislation," 5 June 2018 Don't worry—the juice and stomped grapes are used as compost in the vineyard afterward, not for wine. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California," 9 July 2018 Baking them into a pie might be their last chance to shine before the compost bucket beckons. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "The Perfect Pie for Less-Than-Perfect Berries," 29 June 2018 For example, are pricey compost tumblers really necessary? Lisa Boone,, "Curious about composting? Learn more at one of these free L.A. classes," 22 June 2018 After the service, families of the dead planted an olive tree on the cathedral grounds, using compost made from floral tributes left by mourners after the attack. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, "1 year after carnage on London bridge, victims' families and survivors pay tribute," 3 June 2018 At 150 gallons, the self-compacting receptacles, called Bigbelly containers, can accommodate nearly five times as much trash, recyclables and compost materials in separate compartments, compared with traditional 32-gallon, wire-mesh trash cans. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "Castro district gets 5 new high-tech Bigbelly trash bins," 2 May 2018 Some organic materials to use might include pheromone traps, horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, hot pepper sprays and organic compost. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Planning your garden? Don't have space? Oconomowoc community gardens could provide an answer.," 30 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The eco-conscious city has been an environmental leader in the U.S., working to aggressively curb the amount of trash that goes into landfills by requiring more options that can be recycled or composted. Anchorage Daily News, "Seattle bans plastic straws, utensils at restaurants, bars," 3 July 2018 By weight 75 to 80 percent of all household trash is organic matter that can be composted and turned into soil. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "How People Make Only a Jar of Trash a Year," 18 May 2018 The zoo has had an organic waste diversion program since 2011, but was hindered by restrictions on composting primate and big cat stool. Jennifer Conn, Akron Reporter,, "Akron Zoo sets global sustainability standard for zoos with 'Big Hanna' compost system (photos)," 24 Apr. 2018 Kathryn Kellogg is one of those young millennials who has downsized her trash pile—anything that hasn’t been composted or recycled—so two years' worth literally fits inside one 16-ounce jar. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "How People Make Only a Jar of Trash a Year," 18 May 2018 Solar panels have been installed on roofs, energy efficient light bulbs are lowering electric bills, food waste is being composted and a wind farm off the coast of Cleveland is in development., "13 organizations making Northeast Ohio greener," 10 Apr. 2018 The hotel runs a tight trash program with 90 percent of waste being composted or recycled (there’s a person dedicated to sorting). Stephanie Granada, Sunset, "10 Stunning Eco-Friendly Hotels," 22 Jan. 2018 Frappuccinos will still have the dome lids, but the traditional plastic straws will be made from either paper or plastic that can be composted, CNN reported. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Starbucks to phase out plastic straws at all locations," 9 July 2018 The eco-conscious city has been an environmental leader in the U.S., working to aggressively curb the amount of trash that goes into landfills by requiring more options that can be recycled or composted. CBS News, "Seattle becomes first U.S. city to ban plastic utensils and straws," 2 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compost

Statistics for compost

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compost

The first known use of compost was in 1587

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for compost



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 \

Kids Definition of compost

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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