Definition of comprise
1 : 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)
2 : to be made up of The factory was to be a vast installation, comprising fifty buildings. — Jane Jacobs The play comprises three acts.
comprise was our Word of the Day on 11/10/2013. Hear the podcast!
comprise vs. compose
Although it has been in use since the late 18th century, sense 3 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 3 is somewhat more frequent in recent literary use than the earlier senses. You should be aware, however, that if you use sense 3 you may be subject to criticism for doing so, and you may want to choose a safer synonym such as compose or make up.
Examples of comprise in a Sentence
Each army division comprised 4,500 troops.
The play comprises three acts.
Recent Examples of comprise from the Web
In addition to founder/composer Greenstein, the NOW Ensemble comprises pianist Michael Mizrahi, flutist Alex Sopp, clarinetist Alicia Lee, guitarist Mark Dancigers and bassist Logan Coale.
Rental assistance programs comprise about 80 percent of the agency’s total funding.
Before Tuesday’s arrests, a group comprising doctors, health care workers, clergy and others marched through the hallways and gathered near the offices of House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, where other protesters sat outside.
A review committee comprised of city officials that took the place of a normal internal affairs investigation found that neither officer violated any police policies.
Interesting stat: Boutique fitness studios comprise 21 percent of the $22.4 billion U.S. health club market, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
By 2050, about 1.1 billion Indians are expected to comprise the working-age population of 15 to 64, according to the United Nations.
Mid-market home sales — priced between $200,000-$600,000 — comprised 68.9 percent of all single-family home sales.
Marijuana Business Daily, a trade publication, reported in 2015 that women comprised about 36 percent of executives in the legal-marijuana industry, compared with 22 percent in senior roles in other areas.
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.
Did You Know?
Comprise has undergone a substantial shift in usage since first appearing in English in the 15th century. For many years usage commentators insisted that the usage of comprise meaning "to be made up of" (as shown in our first example) was correct and comprise meaning "to make up," as in our second example and in phrases like "the players who comprise the team," was not. (This disputed use is often used in passive constructions such as, "The album is comprised of ten classic songs.") 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.
Origin and Etymology of comprise
Middle English, from Anglo-French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere —see comprehend
First Known Use: 15th century
COMPRISE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of comprise for English Language Learners
: to be made up of (something) : to include or consist of (something)
: to make up or form (something)
COMPRISE Defined for Kids
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