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


We compost leaves in our backyard.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In theory, a compost pile should get hot enough to kill seeds. Neil Sperry,, "How soon is too soon to use compost?," 7 June 2019 All will benefit from a drink of compost tea or worm-juice tea upon planting. Sally Mccabe,, "July 13-19: In the garden, it's time to…," 13 July 2018 Feed with compost, backfill the soil, water, and mulch to retain moisture and keep weeds down. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Ornamental Grasses," 24 May 2018 The Master Gardeners will show you how to establish your garden and sustain it with your own compost. Chuck Gait, Howard County Times, "Program designed for young people interested in gardening [Highland/Fulton]," 22 Mar. 2018 If your soil is heavy clay, rocky, hard, or alkaline, mix in an inch or so of compost. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Beets This Fall for a Hearty Autumn Harvest," 21 Aug. 2018 One half inch depth of compost should be on beds before planting anything outdoors. idahostatesman, "A gardening to do list for March and April | Idaho Statesman," 21 Mar. 2018 Whether situated in vases throughout the home or perfectly gathered in a wedding bouquet, they’re usually destined to be tossed in the compost. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "This “Flower Framer” Will Preserve a Meaningful Bouquet Forever," 8 Oct. 2018 Additional features of the community garden added in the second season included stand-up plot areas that are accessible for anyone, a garden shed and a compost bins area. Shirley Macfarland,, "Broadview Heights Spotlights performs Southern family drama: Talk of the Towns," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Much of what is thrown away by grocery stores can be donated, recycled or composted. Julia Thompson, USA TODAY, "Lab-grown meat, GMOs, high-tech ag: 'Fate of Food' explores solutions to global food crisis," 6 June 2019 Not every facility that composts food scraps and yard debris also accepts packaging. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "Compostables, Meant to Cut Plastic Waste, Are Stumbling," 22 Jan. 2019 Pile all that straw up to compost over the winter for an amazing mound to use for filling your pots in the spring! Jenae Sitzes, Country Living, "Here's Why You Should Be Adding Straw Bales to Your Garden," 8 Mar. 2017 All the waste product that comes out of my operation is composted and then used as fertilizer in my vegetable garden. Hannah Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "Turkey prices are lowest in a decade, but not for the kinds Washington farmers raise. Those are soaring.," 22 Nov. 2018 Flowers and plants will be composted; the other items will be catalogued and saved. Washington Post, "Memorial for Florida school shooting victims dismantled," 28 Mar. 2018 Tea bags often contain plastic fibers that cannot be composted, while loose leaf can go straight into your backyard bin. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Places To Shop Online If You Want To Save Money And Live A Zero Waste Lifestyle," 24 Aug. 2017 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

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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Statistics for compost

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compost

The first known use of compost was in 1587

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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 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 move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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