com·pre·hen·sive | \ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen(t)-siv, -prē-\

Definition of comprehensive 

1 : covering completely or broadly : inclusive comprehensive examinations comprehensive insurance

2 : having or exhibiting wide mental grasp comprehensive knowledge

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Other Words from comprehensive

comprehensively adverb
comprehensiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for comprehensive


compleat, complete, entire, full, grand, intact, integral, perfect, plenary, total, whole


imperfect, incomplete, partial

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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

Dingell said the bill was not comprehensive and wouldn't address the issues around separating kids from their parents at the border. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Lawrence: Shocking conditions at immigrant detention centers in Texas," 27 June 2018 But then, in closing arguments that were comprehensive and pointed, clarity suddenly emerged. Christian Boone, ajc, "Old doubts quashed, new ones raised as cold case killing goes to jury," 25 June 2018 For 30 years, since President Ronald Reagan’s offer of amnesty and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Congress has failed to build a comprehensive and sustainable system. Dan Rodricks,, "The bad economics of Trump's bad immigration policy," 19 June 2018 The meetings are all closed to the public, a decision the governor's office said would foster a comprehensive and open exchange of ideas. William Axford, Houston Chronicle, "Letter to Gov. Abbott: 'Why is our safety less important than the check you get from the NRA?'," 23 May 2018 Just as, in the 19th century, many countries set up geological surveys to assess their mineral assets, so Mr Santos aspires to survey, in a comprehensive and systematic way, Colombia’s biological assets. The Economist, "Colombia’s national survey of its biodiversity is ambitious," 17 May 2018 And the Rams went through a comprehensive few days after the vets broke for summer, part of a month-long process the team runs for its rookies. Albert Breer,, "Everybody Wants to Talk to Lincoln Riley," 25 June 2018 Grassley's bill, the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act, would require Justice to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "Bills to protect U.S. elections from foreign meddling are struggling, senators say," 12 June 2018 Megachirella's detailed features weren't completely discernible, and scientists didn't have a comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary timeline for squamates. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "World's Oldest Lizard Fossil Found—What You Need to Know," 31 May 2018

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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Phrases Related to comprehensive

comprehensive school

Statistics for comprehensive

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for comprehensive

The first known use of comprehensive was in 1614

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More Definitions for comprehensive



English Language Learners Definition of comprehensive

: including many, most, or all things

: of or relating to a comprehensive school


com·pre·hen·sive | \ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen-siv \

Kids Definition of comprehensive

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


com·pre·hen·sive | \ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen-siv \

Legal Definition of comprehensive 

: covering completely or broadly a comprehensive insurance policy

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Comments on comprehensive

What made you want to look up comprehensive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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