[ kuhm-pohz ]
See synonyms for compose on
verb (used with object),com·posed, com·pos·ing.
  1. to make or form by combining things, parts, or elements: He composed his speech from many research notes.

  2. to be or constitute a part or element of: a rich sauce composed of many ingredients.

  1. to make up or form the basis of: Style composes the essence of good writing.

  2. to put or dispose in proper form or order: to compose laws into a coherent system.

  3. Art. to organize the parts or elements of (a picture or the like).

  4. to create (a musical, literary, or choreographic work).

  5. to end or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.): The union and management composed their differences.

  6. to bring (oneself, one's mind, etc.) to a condition of calmness, repose, etc.; calm; quiet.

  7. Printing.

    • to set (type).

    • to set type for (an article, book, etc.).

verb (used without object),com·posed, com·pos·ing.
  1. to engage in composition, especially musical composition.

  2. to enter into composition; fall into an arrangement: a scene that composes well.

Origin of compose

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Middle French word composer.See com-, pose1

Other words for compose

Other words from compose

  • com·pos·a·ble, adjective
  • un·com·pos·a·ble, adjective

Words that may be confused with compose Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use compose in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for compose


/ (kəmˈpəʊz) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to put together or make up by combining; put in proper order

  2. to be the component elements of

  1. to produce or create (a musical or literary work)

  2. (intr) to write music

  3. to calm (someone, esp oneself); make quiet

  4. to adjust or settle (a quarrel, etc)

  5. to order the elements of (a painting, sculpture, etc); design

  6. printing to set up (type)

Origin of compose

C15: from Old French composer, from Latin compōnere to put in place; see component

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