[kuh m-prahyz]

verb (used with object), com·prised, com·pris·ing.

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
Related formscom·pris·a·ble, adjectivecom·pris·al, noun
Can be confusedcompose comprise (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonyms for comprise

1. See include.

Usage note

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for comprising

Contemporary Examples of comprising

  • Women have made great strides, he argued, for instance now comprising more than half of the students at medical and law schools.

  • Comprising a record 19 percent of the electorate, young people were a key demographic.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why the Youth Vote Mattered in Obama Reelection

    Lizzie Crocker, Abby Haglage

    November 8, 2012

  • Archery is growing in popularity as a recreational pursuit, now comprising more than a fifth of hunting licenses sold nationwide.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Paul Ryan’s Bow-Hunting Bump

    Rebecca Dana

    August 16, 2012

  • Like any Smith project, it took on a life of its own, eventually spreading over three continents and comprising 320 interviews.

    The Daily Beast logo
    20 Views of Life and Death

    Ezrha Jean Black

    July 22, 2011

Historical Examples of comprising

British Dictionary definitions for comprising


verb (tr)

to include; contain
to constitute the whole of; consist ofher singing comprised the entertainment
Derived Formscomprisable, adjectivecomprisal, noun

Word Origin for comprise

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 comprising



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