Definition: Compound

From New World Encyclopedia

Etymology 1

Possibly from Malay kampong, kampung (group of buildings, village), via Dutch or Portuguese, altered under the influence of Etymology 2.


compound (plural compounds)

  1. An enclosure within which workers, prisoners, or soldiers are confined.
  2. An enclosure for secure storage.
  3. A group of buildings situated close together, such as for a school or block of offices.

Etymology 2

From Middle English compounen, from Middle French componre, compondre (to put together), from Latin componō, from Latin com- (together) + ponō (to put).


compound (not comparable)

  1. Composed of elements; not simple.
    Pinwheel is a compound word derived from pin and wheel.
  2. (mathematics) Dealing with numbers of various denominations of quantity, or with processes more complex than the simple process.
    Compound addition seemed to confuse the students whenever they first encountered it.
  3. (music) An octave higher than originally (i.e. a compound major second is equivalent to a major ninth).

Derived terms

  • compound animal
  • compound duple
  • compound engine
  • compound interest
  • compound interval
  • compound key
  • compound labour
  • compound leaf
  • compoundly
  • compound machine
  • compound meter
  • compound microscope
  • compound sentence
  • compound symbol
  • compound time


compound (plural compounds)

  1. Anything made by combining several things.
  2. (chemistry) A substance formed by chemical bonding of two or more elements in definite proportions by weight.
  3. (linguistics) A lexeme that consists of more than one stem; a compound word.
  4. (law) A legal procedure whereby a criminal or delinquent avoids prosecution in a court in exchange for his payment to the authorities of a financial penalty or fine.
  5. (railway transport) A compound locomotive, a steam locomotive with both high-pressure and low-pressure cylinders.
  6. Short for compound exercise; exercise that works several muscle groups at the same time.

Derived terms

  • aromatic compound
  • binary compound
  • chemical compound
  • complex compound
  • inorganic compound
  • ionic compound
  • molecular compound
  • organic compound
  • quaternary compound
  • solid compound
  • ternary compound
  • thermal compound


compound (third-person singular simple present compounds, present participle compounding, simple past and past participle compounded)

  1. To form (a resulting mixture) by combining different elements, ingredients, or parts; to mingle with something else.
  2. (law) To settle by agreeing on less than the claim, or on different terms than those stipulated.
    We needed to compound the debt somehow, but since I didn't have the money, I gave him a box of old toys I didn't need anymore.
  3. To settle amicably; to adjust by agreement; to come to a compromise.
  4. To come to terms of agreement; to settle by a compromise.
  5. (finance) To increase in value with interest, where the interest is earned on both the principal sum and prior earned interest.
  6. (horse racing) Of a horse: to fail to maintain speed.

Derived terms

  • compoundable
  • compounder


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