Word Origin & History
c.1300, "space, area, extent," from O.Fr. compas, from compasser "to go around, measure, divide equally," from V.L. *compassare "to pace out," from L. com- "together" + passus "a step." The mathematical instrument so called from late 14c. The mariners' directional tool (so called since early 15c.) took
the name, perhaps, because it's round and has a point like the mathematical instrument. The word is in most European languages, with a mathematical sense in Romance, a nautical sense in Germanic, and both in English.