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

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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

The council unanimously agreed with the Board of Zoning Appeals’ rejection of DSA Fuels LLC project proposed near the city’s compost site, east of Clay Street, and north of East 23rd Avenue. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Lake Station council nixes food waste recycling project," 29 June 2018 Someone stole a plastic compost bin valued at $250 from a home in the 1100 block of Woodbine Avenue between 8 a.m. July 3 and 10 a.m. July 5. Staff Report,, "Police: Oak Park resident robbed while walking on Austin Boulevard," 14 July 2018 Consign overripe and rotten tomatillo fruits to your hot compost heap. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Your Guide To Growing The Biggest Tomatillos North Of Mexico," 22 Mar. 2017 Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "SW Idaho cat infected in problem area known for previous plague cases," 26 June 2018 Keep the pots and add the plants to the compost pile. Tom Maccubbin,, "Secrets to sunflower success," 2 June 2018 Even compost without kitchen scraps provides insects that rats consume, unless the pile is kept hot enough to kill them. Kym Pokorny,, "'It's a bad year for rats' in Oregon cities: Here's how to fight them," 13 Feb. 2018 The bill would permit farms in the county’s rural residential and rural conservation zoning districts, and on land with an agricultural preservation designation, to operate compost facilities on their properties as an accessory to their farms. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Howard County digs into a new debate over mulching regulations," 2 May 2018 Snap off a chunk of the rhizome, then place the rest of the plant back in its pot, sprinkle on more potting soil or compost, water heavily, and treat it gently for a few days. Sharon Tregaskis, Good Housekeeping, "The Easiest Way To Grow Spicy Ginger In Your Own House," 24 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The school already composts food waste, but the new devices — the biggest is about the size of a washer and dryer — are expected to supercharge that process, cutting costs by 40 percent over traditional composting. Annabelle Williams,, "Temple's food waste digesters disrupting the industry or just 'shifting the burden'?," 27 June 2018 Behind those mirrored doors with have a wet bath complete with a @natureshead composting toilet and an on demand hot water heater. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This 20-Year-Old Bus Is Now A Solar-Powered Traveling Tiny Home," 27 June 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

2 Nov 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of compost

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

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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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