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

consist (of), contain, muster

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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

Ping-pong is not yet popular enough to be a full-blown professional sport in the U.S., says Hetherington, though there is a U.S. National Team, comprised of about 40 athletes, who compete regularly around the world. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A Look Inside the Challenging and Misunderstood Sport of Table Tennis," 9 Jan. 2019 That committee is typically comprised of a group of unionized employees at the company who negotiate on behalf of their colleagues. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "As digital media companies brace for change, unions try to cushion the blow," 26 Dec. 2018 The filter is airtight, and comprised of a dense sheet of small fibers pleated and sealed in a metal or plastic frame. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Do Air Purifiers Actually Work?," 17 Dec. 2018 The fact that a caravan largely comprised of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are here facing tear gas and turmoil speaks to the state of their countries. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "If You're Defending Tear Gassing Children, You're a Horrible Person," 28 Nov. 2018 And to do something that no one, no one thought was possible: to build a campaign like this one solely comprised of people. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Beto O'Rourke’s Concession Speech," 7 Nov. 2018 Prices: Costs at Furin start at $3 for miso soup and go all the way up to $50 for a plate comprised of eight pieces of sushi, 14 pieces of sashimi and tuna maki that's served on wooden boat and easily accommodates two people. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs and NWI: Furin Japanese Restaurant and Bar in Valparaiso," 10 July 2018 Adell, who is now in the Los Angeles Angels organization, will play with other top prospects on the U.S. team against a roster comprised of minor league players from the rest of the world. Justin Sayers, The Courier-Journal, "Former Ballard High star Jo Adell named to MLB's Futures Game roster," 6 July 2018 Sofia Bordner, 13, performed at the end of April as part of The Camp Broadway Kids, a musical theatre ensemble comprised of 60 children, ages 12 to 16, who were featured at The New York Pops 35th Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall. Erika Butler, The Aegis, "Harford teenagers take their arts to New York City stages," 21 June 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

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on comprise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with comprise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for comprise

Spanish Central: Translation of comprise

Nglish: Translation of comprise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comprise for Arabic Speakers

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