noun, plural com·pen·di·ums, com·pen·di·a [kuhm-pen-dee-uh] /kəmˈpɛn di ə/.

a brief treatment or account of a subject, especially an extensive subject; concise treatise: a compendium of medicine.
a summary, epitome, or abridgment.
a full list or inventory: a compendium of their complaints.

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

Synonyms for compendium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for compendium

Contemporary Examples of compendium

Historical Examples of compendium

  • The ballot is the compendium of all there is in civilization, and of all that civilization has done for us.

  • His compendium of Galen was the text-book of medicine in the West for many centuries.

  • She was worth her wages to the office merely as a compendium of shams.

    In Our Town

    William Allen White

  • Johnstown is a compendium of business, and misery, and despair.

    History of the Johnstown Flood

    Willis Fletcher Johnson

  • He began a compendium of religions, then of literature, and last of the Romance languages.

    Idling in Italy

    Joseph Collins

British Dictionary definitions for compendium


noun plural -diums or -dia (-dɪə)

British a book containing a collection of useful hints
British a selection, esp of different games or other objects in one container
a concise but comprehensive summary of a larger work

Word Origin for compendium

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 compendium

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper