Meaning of COMPOUND in English


I. (ˈ)käm|pau̇nd, kəmˈp- verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: alteration of Middle English compounen, from Middle French compon-, stem of compondre to put together, arrange, from Latin componere, from com- + ponere to put, place — more at position

transitive verb

1. : to put together (as elements, ingredients, or parts) to form a whole : combine , unite


a. : to form or make up (as a composite product) by combining different elements, ingredients, or parts

compound a medicine

a philosophy compounded of affirmation, action, compassion, and universalism — Norman Cousins

b. obsolete : compose , create

compounded many hymns and psalms — Richard Montagu

3. : to settle amicably : adjust by agreement : discharge (an obligation) upon terms different from those which were stipulated, claimed, or demanded (as when a smaller sum is accepted than was asked) : compromise


a. : to increase by geometric progression or by an increment that itself increases

interest is compounded quarterly

b. : to cause to multiply at a faster and faster rate

c. : to add to : augment

we compounded our error in later policy — Robert Lekachman

express roads and parkways … have compounded … parking problems immensely — Hal Burton

5. : to forbear prosecution of (an offense) for a consideration

compound a felony

6. : to wind the field magnets of (a dynamo) so as to make excitable by both a shunt and a series current

7. : to combine (as forces and velocities) into a single resultant

intransitive verb

1. : to unite into or as if into a compound

his virtues and vices compounded into a contradictory personality no one could understand

2. : to come to terms of agreement or payment : settle by a compromise : agree

compound with the enemy for peace

no attempt to compound with God, to offer future good behavior in exchange for forgiveness — C.S.Forester

II. (ˈ)käm|pau̇nd also kəmˈp- adjective

Etymology: Middle English compouned, from past participle of compounen


a. : composed of or produced by the union of several elements, ingredients, parts, or things

a compound substance

b. : involving combination : composite

compound management

c. logic : consisting of several elements ; specifically : having more than one proposition

d. : having or consisting of two, three, or four groups of simple time units to the musical measure

6/8 and 9/8 are compound rhythms

compound time

e. botany : composed of two or more similar parts forming a common whole

a compound ovary

f. : composed of several joined individuals or elements

2. of an electrical machine : compound-wound


a. of a word

(1) : being a compound (sense 1a) — compare complex

(2) : being a compound (sense 1b)

b. of a sentence : having more than one main clause

I told him to leave and he left is a compound sentence

— compare complex

c. of a tense : formed by the use of an auxiliary verb

is going, are written, has seen, will arrive are compound tenses

— opposed to simple

4. of a fabric : having one or more extra warps or wefts or both

III. ˈkämˌpau̇nd noun

( -s )


a. : a word consisting of components that are words (as rowboat, fireman, high school, devil-may-care, airtight, outrun, thereby, whereas, into ) — compare complex

b. : a word consisting of components that are words, are a word and a combining form (as centimeter ), are a word and a noninflectional affix (as builder, reenter ), are combining forms (as biology ), or are a combining form and a noninflectional affix (as cephalad, chlorate )

c. printing : a hyphened term

2. : something (as a substance, idea, creation) that is formed by a union of elements, ingredients, or parts

a poisonous compound

a compound of Christian mysticism and Greek philosophy

a compound of contradictions

a. : a chemically distinct substance formed by union of two or more ingredients (as elements) in definite proportion by weight and with definite structural arrangement

water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen

the benzene ring is characteristic of numerous complex organic compounds

— see addition compound , adsorption compound

b. : a plastering base coat to which sand is added later on the job

c. : a compound engine or compound locomotive

d. : a system of gears on roving and spinning frames to keep yarn speed constant as bobbin circumference increases with the winding of added layers

e. : a mental process (as a blend or pattern) in which different components can be distinguished

3. : composition

the peculiar compound of such material

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: by folk etymology (influence of compound ) (III) from Malay kampung, kampong group, gathering, cluster of buildings, village


a. : a well-demarcated complex of European residences and commercial buildings (as warehouses and factories) especially in the East Indies, India, and China

b. : an enclosure within which the laborers at So. African gold or diamond mines are confined

c. : a large fenced or walled-in area (as in a prison, detention camp, or cattle yard)

2. Africa : inferior beef

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.