to divide into separate and isolated categories, sections, areas, or compartments: Instead of compartmentalizing tasks, employees can be trained broadly.
Psychology. to mentally separate or set aside (one’s incompatible or negative emotions, beliefs, or behaviors): Ripley, a serial killer, has the capacity to compartmentalize his thoughts, push his conscience conveniently aside, in order to live with himself. Unfortunately, the experiences at work are not easily compartmentalized—they stay with the nurses and affect every aspect of their lives.
- Also especially British, com·part·men·tal·ise .
- com·part·men·tal·i·za·tion [kuhm-pahrt-men-tl-ahy-zey-shuhn, kom-pahrt-], /kəm pɑrtˌmɛn tlˌaɪˈzeɪ ʃən, ˌkɒm pɑrt-/, noun
- de·com·part·men·tal·ize, verb (used with object), de·com·part·men·tal·ized, de·com·part·men·tal·iz·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use compartmentalize in a sentence
That we would compartmentalize our concerns — about labor exploitation and serious injury and toxic behavior — so we could hold on to those smiles.Sports aren’t joyless. Just watch Sixers Piano Girl. | Dan Steinberg | January 21, 2021 | Washington Post
Membrane-bounded organelles help to organize some of the contents, usefully compartmentalizing sets of materials and providing surfaces that enable important processes, such as the production of ATP, the biochemical fuel of cells.A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life | Viviane Callier | January 7, 2021 | Quanta Magazine
In “Valhalla,” the story lines are compartmentalized, similar to what “Odyssey” did.How ‘Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’ makes sense of stories about Vikings, pirates and George Washington | Gene Park | January 1, 2021 | Washington Post
There’s also the curious way it compartmentalizes the expression of genes within itself but leaves the construction of proteins outside.Did Viruses Create the Nucleus? The Answer May Be Near. | Christie Wilcox | November 25, 2020 | Quanta Magazine
Her Nurse Ratched is able to take these terrible traumas that happened to her, compartmentalize them and keep moving forward.
British Dictionary definitions for compartmentalize
(usually tr) to put or divide into (compartments, categories, etc), esp to an excessive degree
- compartmentalization or compartmentalisation, noun
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