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[kuh m-prahyz] /kəmˈpraɪz/
verb (used with object), comprised, comprising.
to include or contain:
The Soviet Union comprised several socialist republics.
to consist of; be composed of:
The advisory board comprises six members.
to form or constitute:
Seminars and lectures comprised the day's activities.
be comprised of, to consist of; be composed of:
The sales network is comprised of independent outlets and chain stores.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English comprisen < Middle French compris (past participle of comprendre) < Latin comprehēnsus; see comprehension
Related forms
comprisable, adjective
comprisal, noun
Can be confused
compose, comprise (see usage note at the current entry)
1. See include.
Usage note
Comprise has had an interesting history of sense development. In addition to its original senses, dating from the 15th century, “to include” and “to consist of ” (The United States of America comprises 50 states), comprise has had since the late 18th century the meaning “to form or constitute” (Fifty states comprise the United States of America). Since the late 19th century it has also been used in passive constructions with a sense synonymous with that of one of its original meanings “to consist of, be composed of ”: The United States of America is comprised of 50 states. These later uses are often criticized, but they occur with increasing frequency even in formal speech and writing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for comprises
  • Much of the south comprises rocky plateaus carved by glaciers.
  • Though the collective comprises ten different rappers, they all seem to agree enthusiastically on the power of disorientation.
  • Joe repairs equipment in what's called the cascade-a six-hundred-mile complex of pipes which comprises the enrichment system.
  • Sonny, who comprises the book's center, is impossibly lovable.
  • Its territory is mostly rural and its population comprises an uneven, sparsely concentrated spread of gun-loving citizen-farmers.
  • But a swarm comprises many small, similar-size earthquakes.
  • Such a modest volume was a fitting, elegant gesture, even while it omitted reference to many of the works her legacy comprises.
  • The second group of chemicals comprises pesticides and insect repellents.
  • It comprises nothing more than arguments from personal incredulity and arguments from ignorance.
  • The allegation's going to be looked at by the canton's health board, which comprises of doctors and lawyers.
British Dictionary definitions for comprises


verb (transitive)
to include; contain
to constitute the whole of; consist of: her singing comprised the entertainment
Derived Forms
comprisable, adjective
comprisal, noun
Usage note
The use of of after comprise should be avoided: the library comprises (not comprises of) 500 000 books and manuscripts
Word Origin
C15: from French compris included, understood, from comprendre to comprehend
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 comprises



early 15c., "to include," from Old French compris, past participle of comprendre "to contain, comprise" (12c.), from Latin comprehendere (see comprehend). Related: Comprised; comprising.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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