• synonyms


  1. a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil.
  2. a composition; compound.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to use in compost; make compost of: to compost manure and kitchen scraps.
  2. to apply compost to (soil).
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make compost: Shredded leaves will compost easily.
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Origin of compost

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin compositum, noun use of neuter of compositus composite; cf. compote
Related formscom·post·a·ble, adjectivecom·post·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for compostable


  1. capable of being used as compostcompostable waste
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  1. a mixture of organic residues such as decomposed vegetation, manure, etc, used as a fertilizer
  2. a mixture, normally of plant remains, peat, charcoal, etc, in which plants are grown, esp in pots
  3. rare a compound or mixture
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verb (tr)
  1. to make (vegetable matter) into compost
  2. to fertilize with compost
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Word Origin for compost

C14: from Old French compost, from Latin compositus put together; see composite
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 compostable



late 14c., compote, from Old French composte "mixture of leaves, manure, etc., for fertilizing land" (13c.), also "condiment," from Vulgar Latin *composita, noun use of fem. of Latin compositus, past participle of componere "to put together" (see composite). The fertilizer sense is attested in English from 1580s, and the French word in this sense is a 19th century borrowing from English.

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"make into compost," 1829, from compost (n.). Related: Composted; composting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

compostable in Science


  1. A mixture of decayed or decaying organic matter used to fertilize soil. Compost is usually made by gathering plant material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable peels, into a pile or bin and letting it decompose as a result of the action of aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other organisms.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.