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[kom-pohst] /ˈkɒm poʊst/
a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil.
a composition; compound.
verb (used with object)
to use in compost; make compost of:
to compost manure and kitchen scraps.
to apply compost to (soil).
verb (used without object)
to make compost:
Shredded leaves will compost easily.
Origin of compost
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin compositum, noun use of neuter of compositus composite; cf. compote
Related forms
compostable, adjective
composter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for compost
  • Organic materials naturally decompose and turn into compost.
  • Gardeners and other environmentally conscious people will add the leaves to a compost pile to become a natural fertilizer.
  • The use of compost made with treated sewage sludge is not permitted in organic farming.
  • We treat it and use the fertilizer to maintain the compost site.
  • compost is organic material, and mature compost is dark, earthy and rich in nutrients.
  • compost is an organic material generally comprised of decomposed yard and kitchen wastes.
  • Dig in several inches of compost and a balanced organic fertilizer.
  • compost tea is a liquid made by steeping a porous bag of decomposed and recycled organic matter, known as compost, in water.
  • If you enjoy a cup of tea brewed with loose leaves, these are a terrific source of organic material for your compost pile.
  • Organic matter in a compost pile or bin is decomposed by millions of microorganisms.
British Dictionary definitions for compost


a mixture of organic residues such as decomposed vegetation, manure, etc, used as a fertilizer
a mixture, normally of plant remains, peat, charcoal, etc, in which plants are grown, esp in pots
(rare) a compound or mixture
verb (transitive)
to make (vegetable matter) into compost
to fertilize with compost
Word Origin
C14: from Old French compost, from Latin compositus put together; see composite
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 compost

late 14c., compote, from Old French composte "mixture of leaves, manure, etc., for fertilizing land" (13c.), also "condiment," from Vulgar Latin *composita, noun use of fem. of Latin compositus, past participle of componere "to put together" (see composite). The fertilizer sense is attested in English from 1580s, and the French word in this sense is a 19th century borrowing from English.


"make into compost," 1829, from compost (n.). Related: Composted; composting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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compost in Science
A mixture of decayed or decaying organic matter used to fertilize soil. Compost is usually made by gathering plant material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable peels, into a pile or bin and letting it decompose as a result of the action of aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other organisms.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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