[kuh m-poh-nuh nt, kom-]
  1. a constituent part; element; ingredient.
  2. a part of a mechanical or electrical system: hi-fi components.
  3. Physics. the projection of a vector quantity, as force or velocity, along an axis.
  4. Physical Chemistry. one of the set of the minimum number of chemical constituents by which every phase of a given system can be described.
  5. Mathematics.
    1. a connected subset of a set, not contained in any other connected subset of the set.
    2. a coordinate of a vector.
  6. Linguistics.
    1. one of the major subdivisions of a generative grammar: base component; transformational component; semantic component; phonological component.Compare level(def 16).
    2. a feature determined by componential analysis.
  1. being or serving as an element (in something larger); composing; constituent: the component parts of a computer system.

Origin of component

1555–65; < Latin compōnent- (stem of compōnēns, present participle of compōnere to put together), equivalent to com- com- + pōn(ere) to put + -ent- -ent
Related formscom·po·nen·tial [kom-puh-nen-shuh l] /ˌkɒm pəˈnɛn ʃəl/, com·po·nen·tal, adjectivecom·po·nent·ed, adjectivesub·com·po·nent, noun

Synonyms for component

1. See element. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for componential


  1. a constituent part or aspect of something more complexa component of a car
  2. Also called: element any electrical device, such as a resistor, that has distinct electrical characteristics and that may be connected to other electrical devices to form a circuit
  3. maths
    1. one of a set of two or more vectors whose resultant is a given vector
    2. the projection of this given vector onto a specified line
  4. one of the minimum number of chemically distinct constituents necessary to describe fully the composition of each phase in a systemSee phase rule
  1. forming or functioning as a part or aspect; constituent
Derived Formscomponential (ˌkɒmpəˈnɛnʃəl), adjective

Word Origin for component

C17: from Latin compōnere to put together, from pōnere to place, put
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 componential



1640s, "constitutional element" (earlier "one of a group of persons," 1560s), from Latin componentem (nominative componens), present participle of componere "to put together" (see composite). As an adjective, from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper