Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English comprisen, from Old French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere, contr. comprendere, past participle comprehensus (to comprehend); see comprehend. Compare apprise, reprise, surprise.


  • IPA(key): /kəmˈpɹaɪz/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪz


comprise (third-person singular simple present comprises, present participle comprising, simple past and past participle comprised)

  1. (transitive) To be made up of; to consist of (especially a comprehensive list of parts).[usage 1] [from the earlier 15th c.]
    The whole comprises the parts.
    The parts are comprised by the whole.
    • 2011 December 10, David Ornstein, “Arsenal 1-0 Everton”, in BBC Sport:
      Arsenal were playing without a recognised full-back - their defence comprising four centre-halves - and the lack of width was hindering their progress.
  2. (sometimes proscribed, usually in the passive) To compose; to constitute.[usage 2][usage 3] [from the late 18th c.]
    The whole is comprised of the parts.
    The parts comprise the whole.
    • 1657, Isaac Barrow, Data (Euclid) (translation), Prop. XXX
      "Seeing then the angles comprised of equal right lines are equal, we have found the angle FDE equal to the angle ABC."
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, →OCLC:
      Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with (by way of local colour) on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust from which gnarled and rusty stalks thrust themselves up like withered elfin limbs.
  3. To contain or embrace. [from the earlier 15th c.]
    Our committee comprises a president, secretary, treasurer and five other members.
  4. (patent law) To include, contain, or be made up of, defining the minimum elements, whether essential or inessential to define an invention.[usage 4]
    Coordinate term: compose (close-ended)

Usage notes[edit]

  1. ^ In most varieties of English, using of in the active voice is generally treated as incorrect. Constructions like the UK comprises of four countries and four countries comprise of the UK are proscribed. Some Asian dialects are exceptions, though, including Malaysian English (quite commonly), and to varying degrees Indian, Singaporean, and others.
  2. ^ Traditionally, the whole comprised its parts, whereas the parts composed the whole. The Associated Press Stylebook advises journalists to maintain this distinction. For the parts to comprise the whole is sometimes considered incorrect. According to Webster's Dictionary, it was originally usually found in technical writings, but Webster's indicates that it is becoming increasingly common in nontechnical literature as well. The American Heritage Dictionary and Random House Dictionary also state that it is an increasingly frequent and accepted usage.
  3. ^ In the passive voice, the use of of with comprise (is/are comprised of) may be regarded as tautological because the same meaning can be expressed in the active (comprises) without of, or with composed of, which is both synonymous and non-tautological (since compose in this sense always requires of).
  4. ^ In most jurisdictions, comprising is open-ended, as in nonexhaustive, but may be presumed to be a close-ended listing in other jurisdictions.


Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]





comprise f sg

  1. feminine singular of the past participle of comprendre