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[kuh m-pahyl] /kəmˈpaɪl/
verb (used with object), compiled, compiling.
to put together (documents, selections, or other materials) in one book or work.
to make (a book, writing, or the like) of materials from various sources:
to compile an anthology of plays; to compile a graph showing changes in profit.
to gather together:
to compile data.
Computers. to translate (a computer program) from a high-level language into another language, usually machine language, using a compiler.
Origin of compile
1275-1325; Middle English < Latin compīlāre to rob, pillage, steal from another writer, equivalent to com- com- + -pīlāre, perhaps akin to pīla column, pier, pile1, pīlāre to fix firmly, plant (hence, pile up, accumulate)
Related forms
precompile, verb (used with object), precompiled, precompiling.
recompile, verb (used with object), recompiled, recompiling.
uncompiled, adjective
well-compiled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for compile
  • He has indicated he may simply compile a list of candidates for the council and let other leaders decide.
  • compile data and prepare written reports in compliance with departmental and governmental requirements.
  • Many conservation groups compile information about biodiversity in one form or another.
  • Ask students to compile a list of motives for building a dam.
  • But-no one will be sure until they compile enough data.
  • As you compile your list, keep in mind the following.
  • The problem with trying to compile a list of nearly perfect cars is you're going to leave something off.
  • Clients who want to compile a video-photo album can drop off the necessary slides and photographs.
  • compile a letter of application, vita and contact information for three references.
  • Now the people who compile indices are changing the way in which they calculate them to take account of such scarcity.
British Dictionary definitions for compile


verb (transitive)
to make or compose from other materials or sources: to compile a list of names
to collect or gather for a book, hobby, etc
(computing) to create (a set of machine instructions) from a high-level programming language, using a compiler
Word Origin
C14: from Latin compīlāre to pile together, plunder, from com- together + pīlāre to thrust down, pack
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 compile

early 14c., from Old French compiler "compile, collect" (13c.), from Latin compilare "to plunder, rob," probably originally "bundle together, heap up;" hence "to pack up and carry off," from com- "together" (see com-) + pilare "to compress, ram down." Related: Compiled; compiling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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