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

Of all the defendants, Schultze provided the most comprehensive testimony to investigators and expressed remorse for his actions during the trial. Fox News, "A look at the 5 defendants in Germany's neo-Nazi trial," 10 July 2018 The survey, one of the most comprehensive explorations of the reasons that adults are having fewer children, tells a story that is partly about greater gender equality. New York Times, "Americans Are Having Fewer Babies. They Told Us Why.," 5 July 2018 Fortunately, legislative leaders in both the Missouri House and Senate are working to implement a government union reform package that would be among the most comprehensive in the country. kansascity, "Jean Paul Bradshaw," 30 June 2018 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer moved to cut the funds, citing the need for a more comprehensive understanding of their costs. Dominic Fracassa,, "SF supervisors hold back funding for police Tasers, citing concern over true costs," 25 June 2018 All of these tests, as well as the robust information that comes along with them, make this one of the most comprehensive kits on the market. Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "Sale alert! 23andMe's comprehensive DNA kit is now 30% off," 14 June 2018 The Journal of the American Medical Association published in 2005 what it's considered to be the most comprehensive literature review on fetal pain to this day., "Trump Uses National 20-Week Abortion Ban As A Rallying Cry For The Midterm Election," 23 May 2018 Poway High was the only comprehensive high school in the district that did not make a top ranking, either state- or nationwide. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Four PUSD high schools rank among top in nation," 11 May 2018 Agency officials said the White House asked the EPA to do a more comprehensive study of the environmental and economic impacts of his proposal — an unusual move during the Trump administration. Eric Lipton,, "‘Super polluting’ trucks receive loophole on Pruitt’s last day," 7 July 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

7 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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