- to include or contain: The Soviet Union comprised several socialist republics.
- to consist of; be composed of: The advisory board comprises six members.
- to form or constitute: Seminars and lectures comprised the day's activities.
- be comprised of, to consist of; be composed of: The sales network is comprised of independent outlets and chain stores.
Origin of comprise
1400–50; late Middle English comprisen < Middle French compris (past participle of comprendre) < Latin comprehēnsus; see comprehension
SynonymsSee more synonyms for comprise on Thesaurus.com
1. See include.
Comprise has had an interesting history of sense development. In addition to its original senses, dating from the 15th century, “to include” and “to consist of ” ( The United States of America comprises 50 states ), comprise has had since the late 18th century the meaning “to form or constitute” ( Fifty states comprise the United States of America ). Since the late 19th century it has also been used in passive constructions with a sense synonymous with that of one of its original meanings “to consist of, be composed of ”: The United States of America is comprised of 50 states. These later uses are often criticized, but they occur with increasing frequency even in formal speech and writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to include; contain
- to constitute the whole of; consist ofher singing comprised the entertainment
C15: from French compris included, understood, from comprendre to comprehend
The use of of after comprise should be avoided: the library comprises (not comprises of) 500 000 books and manuscripts
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 comprisal
early 15c., "to include," from Old French compris, past participle of comprendre "to contain, comprise" (12c.), from Latin comprehendere (see comprehend). Related: Comprised; comprising.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper