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

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 Now, wildlife experts in Colorado say up to 16 percent of the wild male deer population carries CWD, and plan to present a comprehensive strategy for combating the spread of CWD to officials in September. Fox News, "Spread of chronic wasting disease prompts states to consider new rules for hunters," 23 May 2018 Slattery said that a standard NYC restaurant would likely have 15–30 comprehensive questions that gives management an idea of how much someone learns in a two-week trial run and what their weaknesses are. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "How ‘Sweetbitter’ Compares to Real Fine-Dining Restaurant Training," 10 May 2018 Until more comprehensive research is conducted on synbiotics, consider sticking to swallowing a probiotic supplement or eat probiotic-rich foods in addition to prebiotic foods. Anthea Levi,, "Are Synbiotics the New Probiotics?," 2 May 2018 The Inspired Cross Award was bestowed upon four individuals who share the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans vision of providing high-quality comprehensive, affordable health care for all members of the community. Sue Strachan,, "4 honored at Daughters of Charity Foundation Gala with Inspired Cross Award," 29 Apr. 2018 The most comprehensive, called China at the Gates, by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), asserted that Beijing is trying to divide the EU to further its interests. Alan Crawford,, "Everything Is for Sale in Cyprus, and China’s Buying," 24 Apr. 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

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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