comprise

verb
com·​prise | \kəm-ˈprīz \
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)

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Synonyms for comprise

Synonyms

compose, constitute, form, make up

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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.

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.

Examples of comprise in a Sentence

Each army division comprised 4,500 troops. The play comprises three acts.

Recent Examples on the Web

Below, read about them and the other remarkable females that comprise Glamour's 2018 Women of the Year, and head here to buy your tickets for our annual event celebrating these women in New York City. Glamour, "Meet the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year," 30 Oct. 2018 The birth chart is divided into twelve equal sections, which comprise the Houses. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 In 1923, Majorelle bought the property that became the core of the six acres that comprise the compound today. Marian Mcevoy, ELLE Decor, "An Intimate Look Inside Yves Saint Laurent’s Private Marrakech Home," 2 Aug. 2018 The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, which also comprises the websites of Spin, Vibe and Stereogum, has undergone significant growth under Amato, reaching 36.7 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S. in May 2018, according to comScore. Thr Staff, Billboard, "Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Group CEO Steps Down," 11 July 2018 Some environmentalists see a pattern in the way Mr. Trump is approaching public lands, which comprise almost half of the U.S. West, and have linked the pardons to his position. CBS News, "Oregon ranchers pardoned by Trump arrive home," 11 July 2018 But that dual-density XtraFoam midsole, which comprises a pliant inner ring and a denser outer ring, is soft and forgiving, designed to absorb energy rather than return it. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, "First Impressions: The North Face’s 2019 Gear," 11 July 2018 In 2016, Univision acquired a majority stake in The Onion and paid $135 million for the websites that comprised the former Gawker Media Group, which included The AV Club, The Root, Jezebel and Deadspin. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Univision wants to sell The Onion and Gizmodo Media Group websites," 10 July 2018 The player has also taken part in every minute of Switzerland's World Cup campaign, which comprised of three group stage games and one knockout match. SI.com, "Tottenham Hotspur Reportedly Eye Move for AC Milan Full Back Ricardo Rodriguez," 5 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for comprise

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for comprise

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

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More Definitions for comprise

comprise

verb

English Language Learners Definition of comprise

: to be made up of (something) : to include or consist of (something)

: to make up or form (something)

comprise

verb
com·​prise | \kəm-ˈprīz \
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.

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Comments on comprise

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