[ kom-buh-ney-shuhn ]
See synonyms for: combinationcombinationscombinational on

  1. the act of combining or the state of being combined.

  2. a number of things combined: a combination of ideas.

  1. something formed by combining: A chord is a combination of notes.

  2. an alliance of persons or parties: a combination in restraint of trade.

  3. the set or series of numbers or letters used in setting the mechanism of a combination lock.

  4. the parts of the mechanism operated by this.

  5. Often combinations. a suit of underwear in one piece.

  6. Mathematics.

    • the arrangement of elements into various groups without regard to their order in the group.

    • a group thus formed.: Compare permutation (def. 1).

Origin of combination

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English combinacyoun, from Middle French, from Late Latin combīnātiōn-, stem of combīnātiō “a joining by twos,” equivalent to combīnāt(us) “combined,” literally, “joined by twos” (past participle of combīnāre; see combine) + -iō -ion

Other words for combination

Other words from combination

  • com·bi·na·tion·al, adjective
  • in·ter·com·bi·na·tion, noun
  • non·com·bi·na·tion, noun
  • pre·com·bi·na·tion, noun
  • su·per·com·bi·na·tion, noun
  • un·com·bi·na·tion·al, adjective

Words Nearby combination Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use combination in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for combination


/ (ˌkɒmbɪˈneɪʃən) /

  1. the act of combining or state of being combined

  2. a union of separate parts, qualities, etc

  1. an alliance of people or parties; group having a common purpose

    • the set of numbers that opens a combination lock

    • the mechanism of this type of lock

  2. British a motorcycle with a sidecar attached

  3. maths

    • an arrangement of the numbers, terms, etc, of a set into specified groups without regard to order in the group: the combinations of a, b, and c, taken two at a time, are ab, bc, ac

    • a group formed in this way. The number of combinations of n objects taken r at a time is n !/[(nr)! r !]. Symbol: n C r: Compare permutation (def. 1)

  4. the chemical reaction of two or more compounds, usually to form one other compound

  5. chess a tactical manoeuvre involving a sequence of moves and more than one piece

Derived forms of combination

  • combinational, adjective

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