Meaning of COMPASS in English


— compassable , adj. — compassless , adj.

/kum"peuhs/ , n.

1. an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north.

2. the enclosing line or limits of any area; perimeter: You can find anything you want downtown within the compass of ten square blocks.

3. space within limits; area; extent; range; scope: the narrow compass of the strait; the broad compass of the novel.

4. Also called range . the total range of tones of a voice or of a musical instrument.

5. due or proper limits; moderate bounds: Their behavior stayed within the compass of propriety.

6. a passing round; circuit: the compass of a year.

7. Often, compasses . an instrument for drawing or describing circles, measuring distances, etc., consisting generally of two movable, rigid legs hinged to each other at one end (usually used with pair of ): to spread the legs of a compass and draw a larger circle.

8. ( cap. ) Astron.

a. Also called Mariner's Compass . the constellation Pyxis.

b. Compasses , the constellation Circinus.


9. curved; forming a curve or arc: a compass timber; compass roof.


10. to go or move round; make the circuit of: It would take a week to compass his property on foot.

11. to extend or stretch around; hem in; surround; encircle: An old stone wall compasses their property.

12. to attain or achieve; accomplish; obtain.

13. to contrive; plot; scheme: to compass a treacherous plan.

14. to make curved or circular.

15. to comprehend; to grasp, as with the mind: His mind could not compass the extent of the disaster.

[ 1250-1300; (v.) ME compassen compasser to measure compassare, equiv. to compass ( us ) equal step (L com- COM- + passus PACE 1 ) + -are v. suffix; (n.) ME compas compasser ]

Syn. 3. See range .

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .