com·​pre·​hen·​sive | \ ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen(t)-siv How to pronounce comprehensive (audio) , -prē- \

Essential Meaning of comprehensive

1 : including many, most, or all things a comprehensive list comprehensive insurance [=insurance that covers all kinds of risks] a comprehensive [=thorough] course of study
2 British : of or relating to a comprehensive school comprehensive education

Full Definition of comprehensive

1 : covering completely or broadly : inclusive comprehensive examinations comprehensive insurance
2 : having or exhibiting wide mental grasp comprehensive knowledge

Other Words from comprehensive

comprehensively adverb
comprehensiveness noun

Examples of comprehensive in a Sentence

Natalie's every move was photographed, a documentation of a happy childhood as comprehensive as it was false. — John Gregory Dunne, New York Review of Books, 15 Jan. 2004 Inevitably, though, in so comprehensive an account, some important events and themes are cursorily checked off … — Isabel Fonseca, Times Literary Supplement, 29 Jan. 1993 Walcott proceeded to misinterpret these fossils in a comprehensive and thoroughly consistent manner … — Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989 a comprehensive overview of European history since the French Revolution a comprehensive listing of all the paintings generally attributed to the Dutch artist Rembrandt
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Recent Examples on the Web On tap is a more comprehensive approach toward prescribed fire. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Nov. 2021 Watch eyes roll the next time some politician declares that comprehensive immigration reform is around the corner. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2021 Broader course correction — consistent with the Founders’ constitutional design — demands more comprehensive reform. Dan Caldwell, National Review, 24 Oct. 2021 Congressional Democrats have faced several setbacks in their attempts to include immigration proposals in Biden's $3.5 trillion budget package, and advocates said time is running out to pass comprehensive reform before next year's midterm elections. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2021 Alas, this is not the finest hour for American democracy, and the prospects for such a comprehensive, sensible, non-costly reform is zero or, if possible, less. Richard Vedder, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 As many as 8 million people currently in the country could benefit from the proposal, if it is included, delivering the biggest victory for immigration advocates in decades after years of fits and starts in Washington on comprehensive reform. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Texas had done work to address what was a more considerable backlog of rape kits; state Rep. Victoria Neave said in March that the backlog had been reduced by 80% since the state passed comprehensive reform of the process in 2019. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 Despite calls for a more comprehensive approach to ending gun violence, background checks continue to be a main focus. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 29 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comprehensive.' 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 comprehensive

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for comprehensive

see comprehension

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Time Traveler for comprehensive

Time Traveler

The first known use of comprehensive was in 1614

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Dictionary Entries Near comprehensive



comprehensive school

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Statistics for comprehensive

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Comprehensive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for comprehensive


com·​pre·​hen·​sive | \ ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen-siv How to pronounce comprehensive (audio) \

Kids Definition of comprehensive

: including much : inclusive a comprehensive course of study a comprehensive description


com·​pre·​hen·​sive | \ ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen-siv How to pronounce comprehensive (audio) \

Legal Definition of comprehensive

: covering completely or broadly a comprehensive insurance policy

More from Merriam-Webster on comprehensive

Nglish: Translation of comprehensive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comprehensive for Arabic Speakers


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