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noun, plural com·pen·di·ums, com·pen·di·a [kuhm-pen-dee-uh] /kəmˈpɛn di ə/.
  1. a brief treatment or account of a subject, especially an extensive subject; concise treatise: a compendium of medicine.
  2. a summary, epitome, or abridgment.
  3. a full list or inventory: a compendium of their complaints.
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Also com·pend [kom-pend] /ˈkɒm pɛnd/.

Origin of compendium

1575–85; < Latin: gain, saving, shortcut, abridgment, equivalent to com- com- + pend- (stem of pendere to cause to hang down, weigh) + -ium -ium


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for compend

Historical Examples

  • He is the compend of time; he is also the correlative of nature.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • The author preferred to publish the entire Compend than merely a part of it.

  • So far as I am aware, there is no compend of information on the subject in any language so trustworthy and so judicious as this.

    History of Ancient Art

    Franz von Reber

  • Perhaps it may be accounted for by the order of the compend of Christian ethics the writer was following.

  • An epitome, compend, or compendium is a condensed view of a subject, whether derived from a previous publication or not.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms

    James Champlin Fernald

British Dictionary definitions for compend


noun plural -diums or -dia (-dɪə)
  1. British a book containing a collection of useful hints
  2. British a selection, esp of different games or other objects in one container
  3. a concise but comprehensive summary of a larger work
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin: a saving, literally: something weighed, from pendere to weigh
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 compend



1580s, from Latin compendium "a shortening, saving," literally "that which is weighed together," from compendere "to weigh together," from com- "together" (see com-) + pendere "to weigh" (see pendant). Borrowed earlier as compendi (mid-15c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper