Definition of comprise
1 : 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)
2 : to be made up of The factory was to be a vast installation, comprising fifty buildings. — Jane Jacobs The play comprises three acts.
comprise was our Word of the Day on 11/10/2013. Hear the podcast!
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comprise vs. compose
Although it has been in use since the late 18th century, sense 3 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 3 is somewhat more frequent in recent literary use than the earlier senses. You should be aware, however, that if you use sense 3 you may be subject to criticism for doing so, and you may want to choose a safer synonym such as compose or make up.
Examples of comprise in a Sentence
Each army division comprised 4,500 troops.
The play comprises three acts.
Recent Examples of comprise from the Web
Comprised of 45,549 acres, the Duchy of Lancaster generates around $20 million a year and is used to cover the costs the Sovereign Grant does not — namely, those of the Queen's family.
According to a recent report from the Center for American Progress, women comprise nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population, but have been historically under-represented in electoral politics.
Several deadlines have passed, with only one other bidder comprised of a former local politician and a federation of labor unions.
Both Sydni and Niah placed eighth in their events, the 400-meter, and the 100-meter, respectively, and the girls 4x200-meter relay, comprised of Sydni, Niah, Leah and Nakyah, placed sixth.
The event attracts a geographically diverse fan base comparable to that of the Kentucky Derby, but comprised of slightly fewer drunk frat guys and an above average number of fans with an obvious dedication to the sport.
Bringing in more visitors also was a key consideration for New Lenox officials, who last year agreed to spend nearly $330,000 for all-new holiday displays, including a 36-foot tall Santa Claus comprised of 18,500 LED lights.
Around the same time, the AHA began warning people to minimize saturated fat, including tropical oils like coconut oil and palm kernel oil, both comprising 82 percent saturated fat.
Jamie Lynn Spears' daughter Maddie celebrated her 9th birthday over the weekend with a pool party mostly comprised of preteen girls, and two special guests.
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.
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.
COMPRISE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of comprise for English Language Learners
: to be made up of (something) : to include or consist of (something)
: to make up or form (something)
COMPRISE Defined for Kids
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