Compasses for drawing and cutting
For noun: from Middle English compas (“a circle, circuit, limit, form, a mathematical instrument”), from Old French compas, from Medieval Latin compassus (“a circle, a circuit”), from Latin com- (“together”) + passus (“a pace, step, later a pass, way, route”); see pass, pace.
For verb: from Middle English compassen (“to go around, make a circuit, draw a circle, contrive, intend”), from Old French compasser; from the noun; see compass as a noun.
compass (plural compasses)
- A magnetic or electronic device used to determine the cardinal directions (usually magnetic or true north).
- A pair of compasses (a device used to draw an arc or circle).
- (music) The range of notes of a musical instrument or voice.
- (obsolete) A space within limits; area.
- 1763, M. Le Page Du Pratz, History of Louisiana (PG), page 47:
- In going up the Missisippi [sic], we meet with nothing remarkable before we come to the Detour aux Anglois, the English Reach: in that part the river takes a large compass.
- 1748, David Hume, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral, Oxford University Press (1973), section 8:
- There is a truth and falsehood in all propositions on this subject, and a truth and falsehood, which lie not beyond the compass of human understanding.
- 1844, Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia
- How very commonly we hear it remarked that such and such thoughts are beyond the compass of words! I do not believe that any thought, properly so called, is out of the reach of language.
Derived terms 
Terms derived from compass
- Arabic: بوصلة (ar) (būṣṣula) f, برجل (ar) (barjal) m, حك (ar) (ħukk) m
- Armenian: կողմնացույց (hy) (kołmnacʿuycʿ)
- Assamese: please add this translation if you can
- Asturian: brúxula (ast) f
- Azeri: kompas (az)
- Belarusian: please add this translation if you can
- Bengali: কম্পাস (bn) (kampāsa)
- Breton: please add this translation if you can
- Bulgarian: компас (bg) (kompas) m
- Burmese: please add this translation if you can
- Catalan: brúixola (ca) f
- Mandarin: 指南針 (cmn), 指南针 (cmn) (zhǐnánzhēn)
- Czech: kompas (cs) m, buzola (cs) f
- Danish: kompas (da) n
- Dhivehi: please add this translation if you can
- Dutch: kompas (nl) n
- Esperanto: kompaso (eo)
- Estonian: kompass (et)
- Ewe: please add this translation if you can
- Faroese: kumpass (fo) f
- Finnish: kompassi (fi)
- French: boussole (fr) f
- Friulian: please add this translation if you can
- Galician: compás (gl) m
- Georgian: კომპასი (ka) (kompasi), საზღვაო კომპასი (ka) (sazḡvao kompasi)
- German: Kompass (de) m, (nautical) Seekompass (de) m
- Greek: πυξίδα (el) (pyxída) f
- Ancient: πυξίς (pyksis) f
- Gujarati: please add this translation if you can
- Hausa: please add this translation if you can
- Hawaiian: pānānā, ʻūpā
- Hebrew: מצפן (he) (matzpen) m
- Hindi: कम्पास (hi) (kampās), क़ुतुबनुमा (hi) (qutubnumā)
- Hungarian: iránytű (hu)
- Icelandic: áttaviti (is) m, kompás (is) m
- Ido: please add this translation if you can
- Igbo: please add this translation if you can
- Indonesian: kompas (id)
- Interlingua: please add this translation if you can
- Interlingue: please add this translation if you can
- Irish: compás (ga) m
- Italian: bussola (it) f
- Japanese: 方位磁石 (ja) (ほういじしゃく, hōi-jíshaku), 羅針盤 (ja) (らしんばん, rashimbán), コンパス (ja)
- Kannada: please add this translation if you can
- Khmer: ត្រីវិស័យ (km) (trəy viisay)
range of notes of a musical instrument or voice
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Translations to be checked
compass (third-person singular simple present compasses, present participle compassing, simple past and past participle compassed)
- To surround; to encircle; to environ; to stretch round.
- To go about or round entirely; to traverse.
- (dated) To accomplish; to reach; to achieve; to obtain.
- 1763, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emilius; or, an essay on education, translated by M. Nugent, page 117:
- [...] they never find ways sufficient to compass that end.
- 1816, Catholicon: or, the Christian Philosopher, volume 3, from July to December 1816, page 56:
- [...] to settle the end of our action or disputation; and then to take fit and effectual means to compass that end.
- 1857, Gilbert Burnet, Bishop Burnet's History of His Own Time: from the Restoration of King Charles the Second to the Treaty of Peace at Utrecht in the Reign of Queen Anne, page 657:
- [...] and was an artful flatterer, when that was necessary to compass his end, in which generally he was successful.
- 1921 November 23, The New Republic, volume 28, number 364, page 2:
- The immediate problem is how to compass that end: by the seizure of territory or by the cultivation of the goodwill of the people whose business she seeks.
- (dated) To plot; to scheme (against someone).
- 1600, The Arraignment and Judgement of Captain Thomas Lee, published in 1809, by R. Bagshaw, in Cobbett's Complete Collection of State Trials, volume 1, page 1403–04:
- That he plotted and compassed to raise Sedition and Rebellion [...]
- 1794 November 1, Speech of Mr. Erskine in Behalf of Hardy, published in 1884, by Chauncey Allen Goodrich, in Select British Eloquence, page 719:
- But it went beyond it by the loose construction of compassing to depose the King, [...]
- 1915, The Wireless Age, volume 2, page 580:
- The Bavarian felt a mad wave of desire for her sweep over him. What scheme wouldn't he compass to mould that girl to his wishes.
- (surround): encircle, environ, surround
- (go about or around entirely): cover, traverse
- (accomplish): accomplish, achieve, attain, gain, get to, reach
- (plot (against someone)): conspire, plot, scheme
go about or round entirely
compass (comparative more compass, superlative most compass)
- (obsolete) In a circuit; round about.
- 1658, Thomas Browne, Urne-Burial, Penguin (2005), ISBN 9780141023915, page 9:
- Near the same plot of ground, for about six yards compasse were digged up coals and incinerated substances, […]