- IPA: /kəmˈpɹaɪz/, X-SAMPA: /k@m"praIz/
- To be made up of; to consist of ( especially a comprehensive list of parts ). [from earlier 15th c.]
- To include, contain or embrace. [from earlier 15th c.]
- ( informal, considered incorrect, usually in passive ) To compose, to constitute. See usage note below .
- ( patents ) To include, contain or embrace, but not implying an exhaustive list .
From Old French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere, contr. comprendere, past participle comprehensus ( “to comprehend” ); see comprehend. Compare apprise, reprise, surprise .
The most recent usages, compose and constitute, whereby the passive form effectively means “the members comprise the team”, are usually informal and often considered incorrect. By classical definition, a team comprises its members, whereas the members compose the team. It is not proper to use comprise in place of compose. With regard to journalistic writing, the Associated Press Stylebook maintains this distinction. These usages are, however, quite common, with the "compose" variation being more common than the "constitute" one .
According to Webster's Dictionary, the usage dates back to the late 18th century, when it was usually found in technical writing. Webster's indicates that this usage is becoming increasingly common in nontechnical literature, while American Heritage Dictionary and Random House Dictionary state that it is an increasingly frequent and accepted usage .
Explanation of comprise by Wordnet Dictionary
- Comprise v. t. [imp. & p. p. Comprised ; p. pr. & vb. n. Comprising.] [From F. compris, comprise, p. p. of comprendre, L. comprehendere. See Comprehend.] To comprehend; to include.
Comprise much matter in few words. Hocker.
Friendship does two souls in one comprise. Roscommon.
Syn. -- To embrace; include; comprehend; contain; encircle; inclose; involve; imply.
Definition of comprise by GCIDE Dictionary