[kuh m-pat-uh-buh l]
See more synonyms for compatible on
  1. capable of existing or living together in harmony: the most compatible married couple I know.
  2. able to exist together with something else: Prejudice is not compatible with true religion.
  3. consistent; congruous (often followed by with): His claims are not compatible with the facts.
  4. Computers.
    1. (of software) capable of being run on another computer without change.
    2. (of hardware) capable of being connected to another device without the use of special equipment or software.
  5. Electronics. (of a device, signal, etc.) capable of being used with equipment in a system without the need for special modification or conversion.
  6. noting a system of television in which color broadcasts can be received on ordinary sets in black and white.
  1. something, as a machine or piece of electronic equipment, that is designed to perform the same tasks as another, often in the same way and using virtually identical parts, programmed instructions, etc.: Software written for one computer will probably run on its close compatibles.

Origin of compatible

1425–75; late Middle English < Medieval Latin compatibilis, derivative of Late Latin compatī (Latin com- com- + patī to suffer, undergo). See -ible
Related formscom·pat·i·bil·i·ty, com·pat·i·ble·ness, nouncom·pat·i·bly, adverbnon·com·pat·i·ble, adjectivenon·com·pat·i·bly, adverbnon·com·pat·i·ble·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of compatible

Historical Examples of compatible

British Dictionary definitions for compatible


  1. (usually foll by with) able to exist together harmoniously
  2. (usually foll by with) consistent or congruousher deeds were not compatible with her ideology
  3. (of plants)
    1. capable of forming successful grafts
    2. capable of successful self-fertilizationSee self-compatible, self-incompatible
  4. (of pieces of machinery, computer equipment, etc) capable of being used together without special modification or adaptationa PC-compatible disc
Derived Formscompatibility or compatibleness, nouncompatibly, adverb

Word Origin for compatible

C15: from Medieval Latin compatibilis, from Late Latin compatī to be in sympathy with; see compassion
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 compatible

mid-15c., from Middle French compatible (15c.), from Medieval Latin compatibilis, from Late Latin compati (see compassion). Related: Compatibility.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

compatible in Medicine


  1. Capable of existing or performing in harmonious or agreeable combination.
  2. Capable of being grafted, transfused, or transplanted from one individual to another without reaction or rejection.
  3. Capable of forming a chemically or biochemically stable system.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.