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See also: composé


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From Old French composer ‎(to compose, compound, adjust, settle), from Latin componere ‎(to put together, compose), from com- ‎(together) + ponere ‎(to put, place)


compose ‎(third-person singular simple present composes, present participle composing, simple past and past participle composed)

  1. (transitive) To make something by merging parts. [from later 15th c.]
    The editor composed a historical journal from many individual letters.
    Try to compose your thoughts.
    • Bishop Sprat
      Zeal ought to be composed of the highest degrees of all pious affection.
  2. (transitive) To make up the whole; to constitute.
    A church is composed of its members.
    • I. Watts
      A few useful things [] compose their intellectual possessions.
  3. (transitive, nonstandard) To comprise.
  4. (transitive or intransitive) To construct by mental labor; to think up; particularly, to produce or create a literary or musical work.
    The orator composed his speech over the week prior.
    Nine numbered symphonies, including the Fifth, were composed by Beethoven.
    It's difficult to compose without absolute silence.
    • Alexander Pope
      Let me compose / Something in verse as well as prose.
    • B. R. Haydon
      the genius that composed such works as the "Standard" and "Last Supper"
  5. (sometimes reflexive) To calm; to free from agitation.
    The defendant couldn't compose herself and was found in contempt.
    • Dryden
      Compose thy mind; / Nor frauds are here contrived, nor force designed.
  6. To arrange the elements of a photograph or other picture.
  7. To settle (an argument, dispute etc.); to come to a settlement.
    • 2010, Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22, Atlantic 2011, p. 280:
      By trying his best to compose matters with the mullahs, he had sincerely shown that he did not seek a violent collision []
  8. To arrange in proper form; to reduce to order; to put in proper state or condition.
    • Dryden
      In a peaceful grave my corpse compose.
    • Milton
      How in safety best we may / Compose our present evils.
  9. (printing, dated) To arrange (types) in a composing stick for printing; to typeset.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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  1. first-person singular present indicative of composer
  2. third-person singular present indicative of composer
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of composer
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of composer
  5. second-person singular imperative of composer




  1. third-person singular past historic of comporre