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See more synonyms for comprehensive on Thesaurus.com
  1. of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive: a comprehensive study of world affairs.
  2. comprehending or thoroughly understanding with one's mind; having an extensive mental range or grasp, as of a particular subject or many subjects.
  3. Insurance. covering or providing broad protection against loss.
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  1. Often comprehensives. Also called comprehensive examination. an examination of extensive coverage given to measure a student's general progress, proficiency in his or her major field of study, or the like.
  2. the detailed layout of an advertisement, showing placement of photographs, illustrations, copy, etc., as for presentation to a client.Compare visual(def 7).
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Origin of comprehensive

From the Late Latin word comprehēnsīvus, dating back to 1605–15. See comprehension, -ive
Related formscom·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbcom·pre·hen·sive·ness, nounnon·com·pre·hen·sive, adjectivenon·com·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbnon·com·pre·hen·sive·ness, nounpre·com·pre·hen·sive, adjectivepre·com·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbpre·com·pre·hen·sive·ness, nounqua·si-com·pre·hen·sive, adjectivequa·si-com·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbun·com·pre·hen·sive, adjectiveun·com·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbun·com·pre·hen·sive·ness, noun
Can be confusedcomprehensible comprehensive


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for comprehensive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mr. Gladstone took broad and comprehensive views of the question.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • He nodded again, with a comprehensive survey of the reeking floor.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • That was comprehensive enough; the details were quite certain to occur.

  • And "nothing" is more nearly a comprehensive answer than at first you might believe.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Almost as comprehensive a cure as some of our modern universal specifics!


    Benjamin Taylor

British Dictionary definitions for comprehensive


  1. of broad scope or content; including all or much
  2. (of a car insurance policy) providing protection against most risks, including third-party liability, fire, theft, and damage
  3. having the ability to understand
  4. of, relating to, or being a comprehensive school
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  1. short for comprehensive school
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Derived Formscomprehensively, adverbcomprehensiveness, noun
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 comprehensive


"containing much," 1610s, from French comprehénsif, from Late Latin comprehensivus, from comprehens-, past participle stem of Latin comprehendere (see comprehend). Related: Comprehensively (mid-15c.); comprehensiveness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper