an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north.
the enclosing line or limits of any area; perimeter: You can find anything you want downtown within the compass of ten square blocks.
Also called range . the total range of tones of a voice or of a musical instrument.
due or proper limits; moderate bounds: Their behavior stayed within the compass of propriety.
a passing round; circuit: the compass of a year.
Often compasses . an instrument for drawing or describing circles, measuring distances, etc., consisting generally of two movable, rigid legs hinged to each other at one end (usually used with pair of): to spread the legs of a compass and draw a larger circle.
Compass. Also called Mar·i·ner's Com·pass [mar-uh-nerz kuhm-puhs] /ˈmær ə nərz ˈkʌm pəs/ . the constellation Pyxis.
Compasses, the constellation Circinus.
curved; forming a curve or arc: a compass timber;compass roof.
to go or move round; make the circuit of: It would take a week to compass his property on foot.
to make curved or circular.
to comprehend; to grasp, as with the mind: His mind could not compass the extent of the disaster.
- com·pass·a·ble, adjective
- com·pass·less, adjective
- out·com·pass, verb (used with object)
- pre·com·pass, verb (used with object), noun
- un·com·pass·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use compass in a sentence
I fundamentally feel that the Gallaudet Board of Trustees has lost its way and its moral compass.
It also includes a compass and flashlight, so it makes getting lost almost impossible.
Under Tomé’s watch, the shipping giant is resetting its compass and choosing its path with care.
Using just a depth-sensing camera, GPS, and compass data, it learned to enter a space much as a human would, and find the shortest possible path to its destination without wrong turns, backtracking, or exploration.Facebook is training robot assistants to hear as well as see | Karen Hao | August 21, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
While this “rectangular peg problem” seems like the kind of question a high school geometry student might settle with a ruler and compass, it has resisted mathematicians’ best efforts for decades.New Geometric Perspective Cracks Old Problem About Rectangles | Kevin Hartnett | June 25, 2020 | Quanta Magazine
Muscovites call their favorite station “Ukho Moskvy” (Ear of Moscow) and see it as an institution, a compass for society.The Kremlin Is Killing Echo of Moscow, Russia’s Last Independent Radio Station | Anna Nemtsova | November 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
He repeated it again, slowly: “He has no values…He has no moral compass whatsoever.”
It radiates her inner light and compass, her disregard for status quo.Why Maya Angelou Loved Sherry, The Drink of Brilliant Renegades | Jordan Salcito | June 15, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
He goes on to compass the very nature of memory by way of considering how we memorialize mass death.
Boyd does have a moral compass—not yours or mine—but he does have one.Kentucky’s Finest Antihero: Walton Goggins on Justified’s Chameleon Villain | Allen Barra | February 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
She habitually ate chocolates for their sustaining quality; they contained much nutriment in small compass, she said.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
The manual compass on these organs seldom extended higher than f2 or g3, though it often went down to GG.
Later it was extended to F, 30 notes, which is the compass generally found in England.
This was the point of compass revealed by the astrologer as most favourable to the young candidate for manly honours.Our Little Korean Cousin | H. Lee M. Pike
With the exception of the Celestes, which go down to FF only, every stop is complete, of full compass.
British Dictionary definitions for compass
an instrument for finding direction, usually having a magnetized needle which points to magnetic north swinging freely on a pivot
Also called: pair of compasses (often plural) an instrument used for drawing circles, measuring distances, etc, that consists of two arms, joined at one end, one arm of which serves as a pivot or stationary reference point, while the other is extended or describes a circle
limits or range: within the compass of education
music the interval between the lowest and highest note attainable by a voice or musical instrument
archaic a circular course
to encircle or surround; hem in
to comprehend or grasp mentally
to achieve; attain; accomplish
obsolete to plot
- compassable, 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
Scientific definitions for compass
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.