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[kuh m-pat-uh-buh l] /kəmˈpæt ə bəl/
capable of existing or living together in harmony:
the most compatible married couple I know.
able to exist together with something else:
Prejudice is not compatible with true religion.
consistent; congruous (often followed by with):
His claims are not compatible with the facts.
  1. (of software) capable of being run on another computer without change.
  2. (of hardware) capable of being connected to another device without the use of special equipment or software.
Electronics. (of a device, signal, etc.) capable of being used with equipment in a system without the need for special modification or conversion.
noting a system of television in which color broadcasts can be received on ordinary sets in black and white.
something, as a machine or piece of electronic equipment, that is designed to perform the same tasks as another, often in the same way and using virtually identical parts, programmed instructions, etc.:
Software written for one computer will probably run on its close compatibles.
Origin of compatible
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Medieval Latin compatibilis, derivative of Late Latin compatī (Latin com- com- + patī to suffer, undergo). See -ible
Related forms
compatibility, compatibleness, noun
compatibly, adverb
noncompatible, adjective
noncompatibly, adverb
noncompatibleness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for compatibility
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is some question as to the compatibility of this act with Imperial law.

    Copyright: Its History and Its Law Richard Rogers Bowker
  • This, of course, is not sufficient to determine her fitness or compatibility.

    The Way of Decision M. C. Pease
  • Romance is waste, love is unreasoning; compatibility alone is worth while.

  • compatibility and common tastes, you know, Joe, and all that sort of thing.

  • And there have been doubts about hair-powder and its compatibility with tragic purposes.

    A Book of the Play Dutton Cook
  • At the same time she did not deem any secresy of her admiration essential to a compatibility with modesty.

    Fern Vale (Volume 1) Colin Munro
British Dictionary definitions for compatibility


(usually foll by with) able to exist together harmoniously
(usually foll by with) consistent or congruous: her deeds were not compatible with her ideology
(of plants)
  1. capable of forming successful grafts
  2. capable of successful self-fertilization See self-compatible, self-incompatible
(of pieces of machinery, computer equipment, etc) capable of being used together without special modification or adaptation: a PC-compatible disc
Derived Forms
compatibility, compatibleness, noun
compatibly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin compatibilis, from Late Latin compatī to be in sympathy with; see compassion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for compatibility



mid-15c., from Middle French compatible (15c.), from Medieval Latin compatibilis, from Late Latin compati (see compassion). Related: Compatibility.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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compatibility in Medicine

compatible com·pat·i·ble (kəm-pāt'ə-bəl)

  1. Capable of existing or performing in harmonious or agreeable combination.

  2. Capable of being grafted, transfused, or transplanted from one individual to another without reaction or rejection.

  3. Capable of forming a chemically or biochemically stable system.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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