[ kuhm-pat-uh-buhl ]
See synonyms for: compatiblecompatiblescompatibilitycompatibly on

  1. capable of existing or living together in harmony: the most compatible married couple I know.

  2. able to exist together with something else: Prejudice is not compatible with true religion.

  1. consistent; congruent (often followed by with): His claims are not compatible with the facts.

  2. Botany. (of two or more different plant species or cultivars) capable of cross-pollinating: These varieties of apple trees are quite distinct one from the other, but they are compatible, with each one’s pollen fertilizing the other’s flowers.

  3. Computers.

    • (of software) capable of being run on another computer without change.

    • (of hardware) capable of being connected to another device without the use of special equipment or software.

  4. Electronics. (of a device, signal, etc.) capable of being used with equipment in a system without the need for special modification or conversion.

  5. noting a system of television in which color broadcasts can be received on ordinary sets in black and white.

  1. something, as a machine or piece of electronic equipment, that is designed to perform the same tasks as another, often in the same way and using virtually identical parts, programmed instructions, etc.: Software written for one computer will probably run on its close compatibles.

Origin of compatible

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Medieval Latin compatibilis, derivative of Late Latin compatī (Latin com- “with, together” + patī “to suffer, undergo”); see com-, -ible

Other words from compatible

  • com·pat·i·bil·i·ty [kuhm-pat-uh-bil-i-tee], /kəmˌpæt əˈbɪl ɪ ti/, com·pat·i·ble·ness, noun
  • com·pat·i·bly, adverb
  • non·com·pat·i·ble, adjective
  • non·com·pat·i·bly, adverb
  • non·com·pat·i·ble·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for compatible


/ (kəmˈpætəbəl) /

  1. (usually foll by with) able to exist together harmoniously

  2. (usually foll by with) consistent or congruous: her deeds were not compatible with her ideology

  1. (of plants)

  2. (of pieces of machinery, computer equipment, etc) capable of being used together without special modification or adaptation: a PC-compatible disc

Origin of compatible

C15: from Medieval Latin compatibilis, from Late Latin compatī to be in sympathy with; see compassion

Derived forms of compatible

  • compatibility or compatibleness, noun
  • compatibly, adverb

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