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 Together, those substances break down into a compost that can then be used to feed any plants that aren’t grown for human consumption. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Portable Toilets Engineered for Emergency Relief," 5 May 2020 Christmas trees Natural Christmas trees can be sent to a recycling center, as many places can put them through a wood chipper to be turned into compost and mulch. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Here's how to recycle wrapping paper, other Christmas decorations," 27 Dec. 2019 Home Depot has a program that turns clean, undecorated trees into mulch for anyone to use once it has fully broken down into compost. Elizabeth Wolfe And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "Here's what you can do with your Christmas tree now that the holiday is over," 26 Dec. 2019 Sonnenshein knows of one dog that died after getting into the compost and eating a muffin that had been sweetened with xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as an artificial sweetener that can rapidly lower a pets’ blood sugar and lead to death. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Gardening in the Bay Area: Gardening with your pets," 19 Sep. 2019 Remains and indelible parts, such as egg shells and bones, are turned into compost that is handed back to the farmers. Umberto Bacchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "British chefs cook up food waste solutions," 22 May 2018 It’s here that the county does its composting, working to churn food and yard waste into compost, mulch and topsoil. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Getting greener: Howard expands recycling to help achieve environmental goals," 18 Apr. 2018 Add about 2 inches of compost, then work it in with a shovel or metal rake until the ground is fairly loose. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What you should know if you're starting a garden in the Milwaukee area," 30 Apr. 2020 Place a shovelful of compost or worm castings in the bottom. Pam Peirce,, "Grow a crop of shelter-in-place tomatoes right now," 14 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Anyone can compost outdoors by making a pile surrounded by wood or wire, using a composter, or starting a worm farm to feast on your food scraps. Popular Science, "Four essentials for composting outdoors," 30 Apr. 2020 Following the destruction, park district staff and volunteers helped chuck the pumpkins one more time, this time into a dumpster to be composted. Steve Schering,, "‘Pumpkin smash’ turns Halloween jack-o’-lanterns into compost at Oak Park sledding hill," 4 Nov. 2019 The meat to be shipped is encased in a recyclable box and a foam cooler made from water-soluable cornstarch, which can be composted or disintegrated when mixed with water. Parija Kavilanz, CNN, "Perdue Farms' new meat-packing foam dissolves in your sink," 7 Jan. 2020 The facility is being developed by the university’s Sustainability Department, and sustainability manager Amy Parsons-White says most of the waste produced at Marshall can either be recycled or composted. USA TODAY, "Lighthouse in peril, Wizard Rock, cable a la carte: News from around our 50 states," 4 Nov. 2019 With Earth Day coming up on April 22 and everyone stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, one way to practice sustainability at home is to start composting. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Want to start composting this Earth Day? Here are 5 tips from metro Phoenix gardeners," 15 Apr. 2020 Flowers and other perishable items will be composted for use around L.A. Live, the city’s downtown entertainment complex. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Los Angeles is literally awash with grief," 24 Feb. 2020 Flowers and other perishable items will be composted and spread around the complex. Wendy Leung, USA TODAY, "In California: After weeks of mourning, a final farewell to Kobe," 7 Feb. 2020 Try a mason jar, which can be repurposed, or tissue paper, which can be composted, instead of metallic paper. Mallory Moench,, "Drowning in holiday trash? Here’s what to do with it in San Francisco," 24 Dec. 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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 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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