comprise

verb
com·​prise | \ kəm-ˈprīz How to pronounce comprise (audio) \
comprised; comprising

Definition of comprise

transitive verb

1 : to be made up of The factory was to be a vast installation, comprising fifty buildings.— Jane Jacobs The play comprises three acts.
2 : compose, constitute … a misconception as to what comprises a literary generation.— William Styron … about 8 percent of our military forces are comprised of women.— Jimmy Carter
3 : to include especially within a particular scope … civilization as Lenin used the term would then certainly have comprised the changes that are now associated in our minds with "developed" rather than "developing" states.The Times Literary Supplement (London)

Synonyms for comprise

Synonyms

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Comprise vs. Compose: Usage Guide

Although it has been in use since the late 18th century, sense 2 is still attacked as wrong. Why it has been singled out is not clear, but until comparatively recent times it was found chiefly in scientific or technical writing rather than belles lettres. Our current evidence shows a slight shift in usage: sense 2 is somewhat more frequent in recent literary use than the earlier senses. You should be aware, however, that if you use sense 2 you may be subject to criticism for doing so, and you may want to choose a safer synonym such as compose or make up.

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Comprise has undergone a substantial shift in usage since first appearing in English in the 15th century. For many years, grammarians insisted that the usage of comprise meaning "to be made up of," as in phrases like "a team comprising nine players," was correct, and that comprise meaning "to make up," as in phrases like "the nine players who comprise the team," was not. This disputed use is most common in the passive construction "to be comprised of," as in "a team comprised of nine players." Until relatively recently, this less-favored sense appeared mostly in scientific writing, but current evidence shows that it is now somewhat more common in general use than the word's other meanings.

Examples of comprise in a Sentence

Each army division comprised 4,500 troops. The play comprises three acts.
Recent Examples on the Web Enterprise Holdings owns and operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, which together comprise a fleet of nearly 1.7 million vehicles through a network of more than 9,500 rental locations worldwide. cleveland, 24 Apr. 2022 Ikea's lamp is the first speaker to join the ranks of Spotify Tap devices, which comprise mostly Sony, Jabra, Microsoft, Bose, Skullcandy, and Samsung earbuds. Stephanie Mlot, PCMAG, 24 Mar. 2022 The Carnival Corporation owns several major cruise lines, including Princess, Holland America, Cunard and Seabourn, which comprise about half the world's total number of cruises. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 20 Feb. 2022 In the West and High Plains, which comprise 15 states with some of the most productive land in the nation, the news over the past 20 years has not been good. Paul Tullis, Bloomberg.com, 16 Feb. 2022 The cleanup of Smith’s yard is part of a massive EPA effort underway to remove lead from hundreds of Vine City properties, which comprise the Westside Lead Superfund site. Nick Thieme, ajc, 13 Feb. 2022 Forget for a moment the meticulous lyrics, which could easily comprise an accompanying coffee table poem book. Bobby Olivier, SPIN, 10 Feb. 2022 In fact, half of millennials, which now comprise the bulk of the workforce, have a second income, usually a gig-style job. Phil Blair, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Jan. 2022 These mixed messages come as local governments are already under significant fiscal pressure due to collapsing land sales—which comprise about 30% of their revenue, according to Goldman Sachs. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comprise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of comprise

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for comprise

Middle English, from Anglo-French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere — see comprehend

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Time Traveler for comprise

Time Traveler

The first known use of comprise was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near comprise

comprisal

comprise

comprised of

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Statistics for comprise

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Comprise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comprise. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for comprise

comprise

verb
com·​prise | \ kəm-ˈprīz How to pronounce comprise (audio) \
comprised; comprising

Kids Definition of comprise

1 : to be made up of : consist of The play comprises three acts.
2 : form entry 2 sense 3 Nine players comprise a baseball team.

More from Merriam-Webster on comprise

Nglish: Translation of comprise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comprise for Arabic Speakers

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