compound

1 of 4

noun (1)

com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
1
: something formed by a union of elements or parts
especially : a distinct substance formed by chemical union of two or more ingredients in definite proportion by weight
a new antibiotic compound
2
a
: a word consisting of components that are words (such as rowboat, high school, devil-may-care)
b
: a word (such as anthropology, kilocycle, builder) consisting of any of various combinations of words, combining forms, or affixes

compound

2 of 4

verb

com·​pound käm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-ˈpau̇nd,
ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
compounded; compounding; compounds

transitive verb

1
a
: to pay (interest) on both the accrued interest and the principal
b
: to add to : augment
compound an error
… had several other medical complications that compounded his condition.Jeffrey S. Hollis
2
: to form by combining parts
compound a medicine
3
: to put together (parts) so as to form a whole : combine
compound ingredients
… a thick sauce compounded of chilies, garlic, and ginger.Andy Birsh
4
a
: to settle amicably : adjust by agreement
b
: to agree for a consideration not to prosecute (an offense)
compound a felony

intransitive verb

1
: to become joined in a compound
2
: to come to terms of agreement
compounded with the enemy for peace
compoundable
käm-ˈpau̇n-də-bəl How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-ˈpau̇n-
ˈkäm-ˌpau̇n-
adjective
compounder noun

compound

3 of 4

adjective

com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio) käm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-ˈpau̇nd
1
: composed of or resulting from union of separate elements, ingredients, or parts: such as
a
: having the blade divided to the midrib and forming two or more leaflets on a common axis
a compound leaf
b
: composed of united similar elements especially of a kind usually independent
a compound plant ovary
2
: involving or used in a combination
3
a
of a word : made by combining two or more words : constituting a compound (see compound entry 1 sense 2)
"Steamboat" is a compound noun.
b
of a sentence : having two or more main clauses

compound

4 of 4

noun (2)

com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
: a fenced or walled-in area containing a group of buildings and especially residences
a prison compound
an embassy compound

Examples of compound in a Sentence

Noun (1) mixed the chemicals together to form a new compound The interest is compounded at regular intervals. we compounded our error by waiting too long to call for help Adjective “Steamboat” is a compound noun. “I told him to leave and he left” is a compound sentence.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
That loss was also compounded by Orange County home prices, which rose 8% in the same period. Jonathan Lansner, Orange County Register, 12 May 2024 For communities already grappling with the relentless cycle of floods, droughts, food shortages and disease, these challenges compound an already dire situation. Emmanuel Igunza, NPR, 10 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for compound 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'compound.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English compounen, from Anglo-French *cumpundre, from Latin componere, from com- + ponere to put — more at position

Adjective and Noun (1)

Middle English compouned, past participle of compounen — see compound entry 2

Noun (2)

by folk etymology from Malay kampung group of buildings, village

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1679, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of compound was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near compound

Cite this Entry

“Compound.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compound. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

compound

1 of 4 verb
com·​pound käm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-;
ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd
1
: to put together or be joined to form a whole : combine
2
: to form by combining parts
compound a medicine
3
: to settle or adjust by agreement
compound a debt
4
a
: to pay in the form of compound interest
interest compounded quarterly
b
: to add to
compounded our errors
compoundable adjective
compounder noun

compound

2 of 4 adjective
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
käm-ˈpau̇nd,
kəm-
1
: made of or by the union of separate elements or parts
a compound substance
2
: made up of two or more parts that are alike and form a common whole
a raspberry is a compound fruit
3
a
: being a word that is a compound
the compound noun "steamboat"
b
: consisting of two or more main clauses
"I told him to leave and he left" is a compound sentence

compound

3 of 4 noun
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
1
: a word consisting of parts that are words
"rowboat," "high school," and "light-year" are compounds
2
: something formed by a union of elements or parts
especially : a distinct substance formed by the union of two or more chemical elements in definite proportion by weight

compound

4 of 4 noun
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
: an enclosed area containing a group of buildings
Etymology

Verb

Middle English compounen "combine, compound," from early French compondre (same meaning), from Latin componere "compound, combine," from com- "with, together" and ponere "to place, put" — related to position

Noun

from a word in Malay, the language of the people of the Malay Peninsula, kampung "enclosure around a building"; both spelling and pronunciation influenced by the more familiar English word compound

Medical Definition

compound

1 of 3 transitive verb
: to form by combining parts
compound a medicine

compound

2 of 3 adjective
: composed of or resulting from union of separate elements, ingredients, or parts
a compound substance
compound glands

compound

3 of 3 noun
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
: something formed by a union of elements or parts
specifically : a distinct substance formed by chemical union of two or more ingredients in definite proportion by weight

Legal Definition

compound

transitive verb
com·​pound kəm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
1
: to agree for a consideration not to prosecute (an offense)

Note: Compounding a felony is a common-law crime.

2
: to pay (interest) on both the accrued interest and the principal

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