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

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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 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 Now is the time to exam the assumptions that comprise your leadership framework. Kathy Miller Perkins, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 This slice of wild Florida presents itself in the nearly 387,000 acres that comprise the Ocala National Forest. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 29 Aug. 2021 Regarding the World Endurance Championship, the top LMP1 class has been replaced with a new Hypercar category that will comprise cars that meet the aforementioned LMDh regulations and the new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) rules. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 24 Aug. 2021 The complaint would be brought by national soccer associations that comprise FIFA. New York Times, 23 Aug. 2021 But unexpected delights emerge from all sides Whether the impetus be war, work, or climate change, the small businesses that comprise the best of the American food tapestry can only exist when opportunity feels accessible. Osayi Endolyn, Travel + Leisure, 23 Aug. 2021 Put regional concerns behind them and assemble the best two or four or six schools that can comprise a solid football and basketball conference. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, 21 Aug. 2021 The list of changes that comprise that broader reality is long. Justin Worland, Time, 9 Aug. 2021 Something more is needed to develop the complex web of 30 or so muscles that comprise the human hand. David Wharton, Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2021

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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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

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Comprise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comprise. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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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.

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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