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First attested 1564, from Middle French compartiment, from Italian compartimento, from Late Latin compartiri (to divide with, to share with), from com- + partiri (to apportion, to divide, to share).



compartment (plural compartments)

  1. A room, or section, or chamber
    Two men were seated in a well-lit compartment of a third-class railway carriage.
  2. One of the parts into which an area is subdivided.
  3. (biochemistry) Part of a protein that serves a specific function.
  4. (heraldry) A mound (often of grass) beneath the shield in a coat of arms on which the supporters stand.
  5. (anatomy) A region in the body, delimited by a biological membrane.

Derived terms[edit]



compartment (third-person singular simple present compartments, present participle compartmenting, simple past and past participle compartmented)

  1. (transitive) To arrange in separate compartments.