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See more synonyms for compost on Thesaurus.com
  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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for composting

Historical Examples

  • Growers do not all follow the same method of fermenting or composting the manure.

    The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise

    M. E. Hard

  • The composting of manure by gardeners is not a practice to be copied on most farms.

  • By any of the foregoing methods, muck may be prepared for use in composting.

  • To make a long story short, turn your leaves into money by composting them.

  • The appearance of the apparatus required for composting, and the compost laid up, may be better shown by the following figure.

British Dictionary definitions for composting


  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

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 composting



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

composting 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.