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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle French consister, from Latin consistō (stand together, stop, become hard or solid, agree with, continue, exist), from com- (together) + sistō (I cause to stand, stand).


  • enPR: kənsĭst', IPA(key): /kənˈsɪst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪst


consist (third-person singular simple present consists, present participle consisting, simple past and past participle consisted)

  1. (obsolete, copulative) To be.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 15, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book II, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], →OCLC:
      Why doe they cover with so many lets, one over another, those parts where chiefly consisteth [translating loge] our pleasure and theirs?
    • 1846, District School Journal for the State of New-York - Volume 7, page 183:
      District number twenty-five (25) shall consist the counties of Tompkins, Seneca and Yates.
  2. (obsolete, intransitive) To exist.
    • 1715–1720, Homer, [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book VI”, in The Iliad of Homer, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott [], →OCLC, footnote:
      [Homer] allows their characters such estimable qualities as could consist, and in truth generally do, with tender frailties.
    • 1841, “The” Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance:
      First, because it is granted by all divines, that hypothetical necessity, or necessity upon a supposition, may consist with liberty.
    • 2010, Michael O'Buck, Eternal Life: A Question of Honor, →ISBN:
      All things do not consist by Christ today, and all the way back to Adam all things have not consisted by Christ.
  3. (intransitive, with in) To comprise or contain.
    • 1953, Jean Piaget, Origin of Intelligence in the Child, published 2013:
      It is that contact between the mind and things does not consist, at any level, in perceptions of simple data or in associations of such unities, but always consists in apprehensions of more or less “structured” complexes.
  4. (intransitive, with of) To comprise, or to be composed, formed, or constituted of.
    The greeting package consists of some brochures, a pen, and a notepad.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 6, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
      The men resided in a huge bunk house, which consisted of one room only, with a shack outside where the cooking was done. In the large room were a dozen bunks ; half of them in a very dishevelled state, [].
    • 2013 July 19, Timothy Garton Ash, “Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 18:
      Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too. The current power play consists of an extraordinary range of countries simultaneously sitting down to negotiate big free trade and investment agreements.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From consist (verb).



consist (plural consists)

  1. (rail transport) A lineup or sequence of railroad carriages or cars, with or without a locomotive, that form a unit.
    The train's consist included a baggage car, four passenger cars, and a diner.

Further reading[edit]