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[kuh m-pahrt-muh nt] /kəmˈpɑrt mənt/
a part or space marked or partitioned off.
a separate room, section, etc.:
a baggage compartment.
U.S. Railroads. a private bedroom with toilet facilities.
a separate aspect, function, or the like:
the compartments of the human mind.
Architecture. a distinct major division of a design.
Heraldry. a decorative base, as a grassy mound, on which the supporters of an escutcheon stand or rest.
verb (used with object)
to divide into compartments.
1555-65; < Middle French compartiment < Italian compartimento. See compart, -ment
1. division, section. 1, 2. See apartment. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for compartment
  • My watch was still on the floor beneath the glove compartment.
  • Flip up the saddle, and it has a handy-dandy storage compartment for a wallet and keys.
  • The crew compartment crashed into the ocean, killing all seven crew members.
  • compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment.
  • In the fourth compartment, algae or plants are grown to produce food, oxygen and water.
  • To test their hypothesis, they placed the animals in a cage with one well-lit and one darkened compartment.
  • In these situations, fire extinguishers use different materials--ones that flood a protected compartment with a fire-fighting gas.
  • The cell, as it synthesizes the molecules, transports each into the appropriate compartment.
  • In a spasm of righteousness he flung his cigar-case out of the smoking-compartment window.
  • At the medial border of the latter tendon these two layers join together, forming a compartment in which the tendons are enclosed.
British Dictionary definitions for compartment


one of the sections into which an area, esp an enclosed space, is divided or partitioned
any separate part or section a compartment of the mind
a small storage space; locker
Derived Forms
compartmental (ˌkɒmpɑːtˈmɛntəl) adjective
compartmentally, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from French compartiment, ultimately from Late Latin compartīrī to share, from Latin com- with + partīrī to apportion, from parspart
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for compartment
1564, from M.Fr. compartiment "part partitioned off," through It. compartimento, from L.L. compartiri "to divide," from com- intensive prefix + partis, gen. of pars "part" (see part). Related: Compartmentalization (1923); compartmentalize (1925); compartmentalized (1925).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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