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[adjective kom-pound, kom-pound; noun kom-pound; verb kuh m-pound, kom-pound] /adjective ˈkɒm paʊnd, kɒmˈpaʊnd; noun ˈkɒm paʊnd; verb kəmˈpaʊnd, ˈkɒm paʊnd/
composed of two or more parts, elements, or ingredients:
Soap is a compound substance.
having or involving two or more actions or functions:
The mouth is a compound organ.
Grammar. of or relating to a compound sentence or compound-complex sentence.
  1. consisting of two or more parts that are also bases, forming a compound noun, compound adjective, compound verb, or compound preposition, as housetop, many-sided, playact, or upon.
  2. consisting of any two or more parts that have identifiable meaning, as a base and a noninflectional affix (return, follower), a base and a combining form (biochemistry), two combining forms (ethnography), or a combining form and a noninflectional affix (aviary, dentoid).
(of a verb tense) consisting of an auxiliary verb and a main verb, as are swimming, have spoken, or will write (opposed to simple).
Botany. composed of several similar parts that combine to form a whole:
a compound fruit.
Zoology. composed of a number of distinct individuals that are connected to form a united whole or colony, as coral.
Music. of or relating to compound time.
Machinery. noting an engine or turbine expanding the same steam or the like in two successive chambers to do work at two ranges of pressure.
something formed by compounding or combining parts, elements, etc.
Chemistry. a pure substance composed of two or more elements whose composition is constant.
a compound word, especially one composed of two or more words that are otherwise unaltered, as moonflower or rainstorm.
verb (used with object)
to put together into a whole; combine:
to compound drugs to form a new medicine.
to make or form by combining parts, elements, etc.; construct:
to compound a new plan from parts of several former plans.
to make up or constitute:
all the organs and members that compound a human body.
to settle or adjust by agreement, especially for a reduced amount, as a debt.
Law. to agree, for a consideration, not to prosecute or punish a wrongdoer for:
to compound a crime or felony.
to pay (interest) on the accrued interest as well as the principal:
My bank compounds interest quarterly.
to increase or add to:
The misery of his loneliness was now compounded by his poverty.
Electricity. to connect a portion of the field turns of (a direct-current dynamo) in series with the armature circuit.
verb (used without object)
to make a bargain; come to terms; compromise.
to settle a debt, claim, etc., by compromise.
to form a compound.
Origin of compound1
1350-1400; (v.) Middle English compounen < Middle French compon- (stem of compondre) < Latin compōnere, equivalent to com- com- + pōnere to put; (adj.) Middle English compouned, past participle of compounen, as above
Related forms
compoundable, adjective
compoundedness, noun
compounder, noun
noncompoundable, adjective
uncompoundable, adjective
uncompounded, adjective
uncompounding, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for compounding
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was compounding a felony, but my client was satisfied and Roger was grateful.

    'Charge It' Irving Bacheller
  • "And art a rare hand at compounding it," replied Mary admiringly.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin
  • We are still further from compounding protoplasm chemically.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • In compounding face creams one cannot be too careful and painstaking.

    The Woman Beautiful Helen Follett Stevans
  • Yet, so far as he knew, he might be compounding a felony; but that knowledge did not trouble him in the least.

    The Bishop's Secret

    Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for compounding


noun (ˈkɒmpaʊnd)
a substance that contains atoms of two or more chemical elements held together by chemical bonds
any combination of two or more parts, aspects, etc
a word formed from two existing words or combining forms
verb (mainly transitive) (kəmˈpaʊnd)
to mix or combine so as to create a compound or other product
to make by combining parts, elements, aspects, etc: to compound a new plastic
to intensify by an added element: his anxiety was compounded by her crying
(finance) to calculate or pay (interest) on both the principal and its accrued interest
(also intransitive) to come to an agreement in (a quarrel, dispute, etc)
(also intransitive) to settle (a debt, promise, etc) for less than what is owed; compromise
(law) to agree not to prosecute in return for a consideration: to compound a crime
(electrical engineering) to place duplex windings on the field coil of (a motor or generator), one acting as a shunt, the other being in series with the main circuit, thus making the machine self-regulating
adjective (ˈkɒmpaʊnd)
composed of or created by the combination of two or more parts, elements, etc
(of a word) consisting of elements that are also words or productive combining forms
(of a sentence) formed by coordination of two or more sentences
(of a verb or the tense, mood, etc, of a verb) formed by using an auxiliary verb in addition to the main verb: the future in English is a compound tense involving the use of such auxiliary verbs as ``shall'' and ``will''
  1. denoting a time in which the number of beats per bar is a multiple of three: six-four is an example of compound time
  2. (of an interval) greater than an octave
(zoology) another word for colonial (sense 6)
(of a steam engine, turbine, etc) having multiple stages in which the steam or working fluid from one stage is used in a subsequent stage
(of a piston engine) having a turbocharger powered by a turbine in the exhaust stream
Derived Forms
compoundable, adjective
compounder, noun
Word Origin
C14: from earlier compounen, from Old French compondre to collect, set in order, from Latin compōnere


(esp formerly in South Africa) an enclosure, esp on the mines, containing the living quarters for Black workers
any similar enclosure, such as a camp for prisoners of war
(formerly in India, China, etc) the enclosure in which a European's house or factory stood
Word Origin
C17: by folk etymology (influenced by compound1) from Malay kampong village
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 compounding



"to put together," late 14c., compounen "to mix, combine," from Old French compondre, componre "arrange, direct," from Latin componere "to put together" (see composite). The -d appeared 1500s in English on model of expound, etc. Related: Compounded; compounding.



1670s, via Dutch (kampoeng) or Portuguese, from Malay kampong "village, group of buildings." Spelling influenced by compound (v.). Originally, "the enclosure for a factory or settlement of Europeans in the East," later used of South African diamond miners' camps (1893), then of large fenced-in spaces generally (1946).



late 14c., originally compouned, past participle of compounen (see compound (v.)). Compound eye is attested from 1836; compound sentence is from 1772.



"a compound thing," mid-15c., from compound (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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compounding in Medicine

compound com·pound (kŏm'pound')

  1. A combination of two or more elements or parts.

  2. A pure, macroscopically homogeneous substance that consists of atoms or ions of different elements in definite proportions that cannot be separated by physical means, and that have properties unlike those of its constituent elements.

adj. (kŏm'pound', kŏm-pound', kəm-)
Consisting of two or more substances, ingredients, elements, or parts. v. com·pound·ed, com·pound·ing, com·pounds (kŏm-pound', kəm-, kŏm'pound')
  1. To combine so as to form a whole; mix.

  2. To produce or create by combining two or more ingredients or parts.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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compounding in Science
A substance consisting of atoms or ions of two or more different elements in definite proportions joined by chemical bonds into a molecule. The elements cannot be separated by physical means. Water, for example, is a compound having two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom per molecule.

Adjective  Composed of more than one part, as a compound eye or leaf.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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compounding in Culture

compound definition

In chemistry, a substance containing two or more elements in definite proportions.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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