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)

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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

Malnourishment or dehydration Cancer can interfere with the function of your all-important digestive system, which is comprised of organs like your stomach, pancreas, and intestines. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Does Cancer Actually Kill Someone?," 15 Mar. 2019 Maxwell just debuted his Fall 2019 collection in New York while simultaneously working on his Woolmark Prize collection which will be comprised of activewear, a new area for the designer. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Brandon Maxwell Pivots to Activewear for the Woolmark Prize," 15 Feb. 2019 But with the Trojan asteroids, which are comprised of two separate clouds, the spacecraft will have to navigate through multiple gravitational forces. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inside NASA's Wildly Complex Plan to Navigate Jupiter's Asteroid Fields," 21 Dec. 2018 My team, which is comprised of young femmes of color, created a community needs-and-assets assessment for the South Shore neighborhood and is working to turn qualitative information on the state of the community into quantifiable data. Eva Lewis, Teen Vogue, "I Traveled to Paris to Advocate for Human Rights in Chicago's South Side," 27 Nov. 2018 It's set in present-day, and now based on the Crain family, which is comprised of mom Olivia, dad Hugh, and kids Steve, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Nell. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House Is Basically a Scary This Is Us," 16 Oct. 2018 Ars met with the UIUC team (which is comprised of Deepak Kumar, Riccardo Paccagnella, Paul Murley, Eric Hennenfent, Joshua Mason, Assistant Professor Adam Bates, and Professor Michael Bailey) at USENIX Security. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands," 30 Aug. 2018 Michael Stockbridge, a Salem resident and university alum, was added to the 19-member board, which is comprised of alumni and community leaders who raise and manage funds donated to the university. Morgan Hughes, BostonGlobe.com, "Curing the flu, wedding dresses for soldiers, and food for the elderly," 13 July 2018 An internal Marlins Charity Partner Review Committee that is comprised of select executives and staff determines which organizations and foundations will be selected as Charity Partners each year. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "This local group helps kids grow with music. On Friday, they will sing at Marlins Park," 12 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

19 Mar 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 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.

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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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