• synonyms


[adjective kom-pound, kom-pound; noun kom-pound; verb kuh m-pound, kom-pound]
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  1. composed of two or more parts, elements, or ingredients: Soap is a compound substance.
  2. having or involving two or more actions or functions: The mouth is a compound organ.
  3. Grammar. of or relating to a compound sentence or compound-complex sentence.
  4. (of a word)
    1. consisting of two or more parts that are also bases, forming a compound noun,compound adjective, compound verb,or compound preposition,as housetop, many-sided, playact, or upon.
    2. consisting of any two or more parts that have identifiable meaning, as a base and a noninflectional affix (return, follower), a base and a combining form (biochemistry), two combining forms (ethnography), or a combining form and a noninflectional affix (aviary, dentoid).
  5. (of a verb tense) consisting of an auxiliary verb and a main verb, as are swimming, have spoken, or will write (opposed to simple).
  6. Botany. composed of several similar parts that combine to form a whole: a compound fruit.
  7. Zoology. composed of a number of distinct individuals that are connected to form a united whole or colony, as coral.
  8. Music. of or relating to compound time.
  9. Machinery. noting an engine or turbine expanding the same steam or the like in two successive chambers to do work at two ranges of pressure.
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  1. something formed by compounding or combining parts, elements, etc.
  2. Chemistry. a pure substance composed of two or more elements whose composition is constant.
  3. a compound word, especially one composed of two or more words that are otherwise unaltered, as moonflower or rainstorm.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to put together into a whole; combine: to compound drugs to form a new medicine.
  2. to make or form by combining parts, elements, etc.; construct: to compound a new plan from parts of several former plans.
  3. to make up or constitute: all the organs and members that compound a human body.
  4. to settle or adjust by agreement, especially for a reduced amount, as a debt.
  5. Law. to agree, for a consideration, not to prosecute or punish a wrongdoer for: to compound a crime or felony.
  6. to pay (interest) on the accrued interest as well as the principal: My bank compounds interest quarterly.
  7. to increase or add to: The misery of his loneliness was now compounded by his poverty.
  8. Electricity. to connect a portion of the field turns of (a direct-current dynamo) in series with the armature circuit.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make a bargain; come to terms; compromise.
  2. to settle a debt, claim, etc., by compromise.
  3. to form a compound.
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Origin of compound

1350–1400; (v.) Middle English compounen < Middle French compon- (stem of compondre) < Latin compōnere, equivalent to com- com- + pōnere to put; (adj.) Middle English compouned, past participle of compounen, as above
Related formscom·pound·a·ble, adjectivecom·pound·ed·ness, nouncom·pound·er, nounnon·com·pound·a·ble, adjectiveun·com·pound·a·ble, adjectiveun·com·pound·ed, adjectiveun·com·pound·ing, adjective


  1. (in the Far East) an enclosure containing residences, business offices, or other establishments of Europeans.
  2. (in Africa) a similar enclosure for native laborers.
  3. any enclosure, especially for prisoners of war.
  4. any separate cluster of homes, often owned by members of the same family.
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Origin of compound

1670–80; alteration, by association with compound1, of Malay kampung village, collection, gathering; cf. kampong
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for compound

aggravate, magnify, worsen, intensify, exacerbate, multiply, heighten, commixture, goulash, amalgamation, composite, mishmash, fusion, medley, conglomerate, alloy, compost, stew, admixture, aggregate

Examples from the Web for compound

Contemporary Examples of compound

Historical Examples of compound

British Dictionary definitions for compound


noun (ˈkɒmpaʊnd)
  1. a substance that contains atoms of two or more chemical elements held together by chemical bonds
  2. any combination of two or more parts, aspects, etc
  3. a word formed from two existing words or combining forms
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verb (kəmˈpaʊnd) (mainly tr)
  1. to mix or combine so as to create a compound or other product
  2. to make by combining parts, elements, aspects, etcto compound a new plastic
  3. to intensify by an added elementhis anxiety was compounded by her crying
  4. finance to calculate or pay (interest) on both the principal and its accrued interest
  5. (also intr) to come to an agreement in (a quarrel, dispute, etc)
  6. (also intr) to settle (a debt, promise, etc) for less than what is owed; compromise
  7. law to agree not to prosecute in return for a considerationto compound a crime
  8. electrical engineering to place duplex windings on the field coil of (a motor or generator), one acting as a shunt, the other being in series with the main circuit, thus making the machine self-regulating
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adjective (ˈkɒmpaʊnd)
  1. composed of or created by the combination of two or more parts, elements, etc
  2. (of a word) consisting of elements that are also words or productive combining forms
  3. (of a sentence) formed by coordination of two or more sentences
  4. (of a verb or the tense, mood, etc, of a verb) formed by using an auxiliary verb in addition to the main verbthe future in English is a compound tense involving the use of such auxiliary verbs as `` shall '' and `` will ''
  5. music
    1. denoting a time in which the number of beats per bar is a multiple of threesix-four is an example of compound time
    2. (of an interval) greater than an octave
  6. zoology another word for colonial (def. 6)
  7. (of a steam engine, turbine, etc) having multiple stages in which the steam or working fluid from one stage is used in a subsequent stage
  8. (of a piston engine) having a turbocharger powered by a turbine in the exhaust stream
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Derived Formscompoundable, adjectivecompounder, noun

Word Origin for compound

C14: from earlier compounen, from Old French compondre to collect, set in order, from Latin compōnere


  1. (esp formerly in South Africa) an enclosure, esp on the mines, containing the living quarters for Black workers
  2. any similar enclosure, such as a camp for prisoners of war
  3. (formerly in India, China, etc) the enclosure in which a European's house or factory stood
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Word Origin for compound

C17: by folk etymology (influenced by compound 1) from Malay kampong village
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 compound


"to put together," late 14c., compounen "to mix, combine," from Old French compondre, componre "arrange, direct," from Latin componere "to put together" (see composite). The -d appeared 1500s in English on model of expound, etc. Related: Compounded; compounding.

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1670s, via Dutch (kampoeng) or Portuguese, from Malay kampong "village, group of buildings." Spelling influenced by compound (v.). Originally, "the enclosure for a factory or settlement of Europeans in the East," later used of South African diamond miners' camps (1893), then of large fenced-in spaces generally (1946).

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late 14c., originally compouned, past participle of compounen (see compound (v.)). Compound eye is attested from 1836; compound sentence is from 1772.

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"a compound thing," mid-15c., from compound (adj.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

compound in Medicine


  1. A combination of two or more elements or parts.
  2. A pure, macroscopically homogeneous substance that consists of atoms or ions of different elements in definite proportions that cannot be separated by physical means, and that have properties unlike those of its constituent elements.
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  1. Consisting of two or more substances, ingredients, elements, or parts.
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  1. To combine so as to form a whole; mix.
  2. To produce or create by combining two or more ingredients or parts.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

compound in Science


  1. A substance consisting of atoms or ions of two or more different elements in definite proportions joined by chemical bonds into a molecule. The elements cannot be separated by physical means. Water, for example, is a compound having two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom per molecule.
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  1. Composed of more than one part, as a compound eye or leaf.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

compound in Culture


In chemistry, a substance containing two or more elements in definite proportions.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.