[ kuhm-puh s ]
/ ˈkʌm pəs /



curved; forming a curve or arc: a compass timber; compass roof.

verb (used with object)

Nearby words

  1. compartment,
  2. compartmental,
  3. compartmentalization,
  4. compartmentalize,
  5. compartmentation,
  6. compass card,
  7. compass course,
  8. compass deviation,
  9. compass deviation card,
  10. compass north

Origin of compass

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English compassen < Old French compasser to measure < Vulgar Latin *compāssāre, equivalent to compāss(us) equal step (Latin com- com- + pāssus pace1) + -āre v. suffix; (noun) Middle English compas < Old French, derivative of compasser

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for compass

British Dictionary definitions for compass


/ (ˈkʌmpəs) /


verb (tr)

Derived Formscompassable, adjective

Word Origin for compass

C13: from Old French compas, from compasser to measure, from Vulgar Latin compassāre (unattested) to pace out, ultimately from Latin passus step

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

Word Origin and History for compass
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for compass


[ kŭmpəs ]

A device used to determine geographical direction, usually consisting of a magnetic needle mounted on a pivot, aligning itself naturally with the Earth's magnetic field so that it points to the Earth's geomagnetic north or south pole.
A device used for drawing circles and arcs and for measuring distances on maps, consisting of two legs hinged together at one end.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.