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

As usual, the PGA’s fall swing fields are comprised largely of Korn Ferry Tour (formerly the Web.com Tour) graduates. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier: Fantasy Golf Power Rankings," 10 Sep. 2019 From Evil, a record that brought Lower Dens – now comprised of only Hunter and drummer Nate Nelson, with Curved Light's Peter Tran joining in for live shows – to its widest audience yet. John Norris, Billboard, "Why Lower Dens' Jana Hunter Is Both 'Terrified' and 'More Comfortable' Since Transitioning," 5 Sep. 2019 Poston was the largest of the Japanese American incarceration camps, and it was comprised of three groups of barracks: Poston I, II and III. Daily Pilot, "New exhibit in Anaheim tells stories of O.C.-based Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II," 5 Sep. 2019 But the shift to an alliance comprised solely of cell-cultured meat companies creates a single voice for a burgeoning industry that finds itself increasingly in the public imagination. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "The leading US cell-based meat startups just forged an alliance," 29 Aug. 2019 The young German is 6'2, and his game is comprised of both of the best features United's two main summer targets possess. SI.com, "Kai Havertz: Assessing How the German Would Fit Into Interested Premier League Quintet's Teams," 24 Aug. 2019 Junk food and coffee comprised much of his other purchases. Skyler Swisher, sun-sentinel.com, "Jeffrey Epstein’s unusual lockup detailed in records, from jailhouse panties to contraband facial exercise manual," 19 Aug. 2019 The artificial playing surface is 2 1/2 inches and is comprised of polyethylene-blend fiber. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Will Vikings’ Dalvin Cook again sit out a preseason game on new turf? Mike Zimmer isn’t saying," 15 Aug. 2019 Started in 1998, the guild is a not-for-profit organization comprised of Arizona brewers that works to expand the reach of craft beer in Arizona and lobby for small-brewer-friendly legislation. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Real, Wild and Woody craft beer festival is 'a love letter' to Arizona's beer culture," 16 July 2019

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

17 Sep 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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