Definition of combination in English:



  • 1A joining or merging of different parts or qualities in which the component elements are individually distinct.

    ‘a magnificent combination of drama, dance, and music’
    ‘the combination of recession and falling property values proved fatal to the business community’
    ‘this colour combination is stunningly effective’
    • ‘Each stage is a combination of natural processes and human intervention, requiring patience, knowledge, discernment and flair.’
    • ‘The name comes from a 19th century combination of cata (from the Greek for down, kata) and ion.’
    • ‘The combination of top quality performance and the ambience of the concerts has produced evenings of great enjoyment both musically and socially.’
    • ‘A perfect game requires a perfect combination of skill, concentration, and luck.’
    • ‘The invention also relates to the use of the above-mentioned flame retardant combination, especially in thermoplastic polymers.’
    • ‘It is the combination of these two reactions that allows the ozone layer to protect the planet.’
    • ‘We've found that your particular combination of qualities is rare - only 2 in 10,000 people share the same general mix of traits.’
    • ‘Each responds to a distinct combination of built form, architectural circumstance and institutional activity.’
    • ‘In short, everyone would have a similar combination of empowerment and quality of life benefits.’
    • ‘He displayed a winning combination of size, shape, definition and poise.’
    • ‘Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements.’
    • ‘Different individuals will prefer different combinations of work and leisure.’
    • ‘The show has been packing halls around the country with its combination of top quality characters, high production and sheer entertainment.’
    • ‘He made it over two months from a combination of processes involving painting and cut-and-paste images, using a crackled paint effect to make it look old.’
    • ‘The process is a combination of computer-aided engineering and experimental methods.’
    • ‘Toilet training is a combination of several developmental processes.’
    • ‘An artist may use a combination of processes to create an original print.’
    • ‘He said it was crucial to study the uplands because they had a distinct combination of agriculture, landscape, tourism, plus artistic and cultural inspiration.’
    • ‘This has come about through a combination of two processes.’
    • ‘To analyze the data we employed a combination of qualitative and simple quantitative techniques.’
    amalgamation, amalgam, merger, union, blend, mixture, mix, mingling, meld, fusion, fusing, compound, alloy, marriage, weave, coalescence, coalition, pooling, integration, conjunction, incorporation, synthesis, composite, composition, concoction
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]The process of combining different parts or qualities or the state of being combined.
      ‘these four factors work together in combination’
      • ‘The number of bumps on each wheel in combination with the rotational speed determined the pitch produced by a particular tone wheel assembly.’
      • ‘Really nothing more I can add to that except used in combination with your pillow its dead handy for wrapping bottles/breakables in your suitcase.’
      • ‘But they said the ‘kicker’ was that the carbohydrates needed to be eaten in combination with little or no protein.’
      • ‘In spite of all this, there is something about Shakespeare and something about performance without walls; in combination, they make magic.’
      • ‘The therapy involves heated, very smooth stones being rubbed into your back, arms and legs in combination with traditional Swedish massage techniques.’
      • ‘These strategies must be used in combination: users will leave if the content is good but hard to find, or if it's easy to find but offers only empty calories.’
      • ‘Power foods are a convenient pick-me-up and are good for you when used in combination with a wholesome diet of fruit, vegetable, grains, and proteins.’
      • ‘It carries a strong earthy flavour and can be used in combination with wheat flour.’
      • ‘But now the boots are back, often but not always in combination with a miniskirt, and they are certainly harder to combine with the jeans.’
      • ‘In combination there is something even beyond, that joins the three in harmony.’
      • ‘Artificial tooth supports surgically set in the jaw are used in combination with bridges, dentures and crowns to replace any number of missing teeth.’
      • ‘The artist's technique involves the use of digital photography in combination with graphic designs and the exhibition is slated to begin on March 17.’
      • ‘Or use in combination with other sun-loving annuals or perennials.’
      • ‘By the same token, certain ingredients used in combination capture benefits not achievable when used alone.’
      • ‘The twinport petrol engines achieve reductions in fuel consumption by using a variable intake manifold in combination with high rates of exhaust gas recirculation.’
      • ‘But I thought that it was important, because I saw that many of these problems had to be dealt with in combination with other countries.’
      • ‘Most scientists working with the new inhibitors and monoclonal antibody treatments acknowledge they will be used in combination with chemotherapy for years yet.’
      • ‘In most countries, rubella vaccine is administered in combination with measles and mumps vaccine to children as part of their immunisation schedule.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, two events occurred recently which, had they happened in isolation, would probably not have resulted in such a seismic shift in my world view as they did in combination.’
      • ‘You are extroverted and strong-willed, which, in combination means you are good with people and aren't willing to let opportunity pass you by.’
      cooperation, collaboration, concert, synergy, association, union, alliance, partnership, coalition, league
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    2. 1.2A particular arrangement of different elements.
      ‘the canvases may be arranged in any number of combinations’
      • ‘So there are all sorts of permutations and combinations available to us.’
      • ‘Different loving relationships have different combinations of these elements.’
      • ‘The blending of spices is the essence of Indian cookery and there are many different types and combinations of spices which suit particular dishes, regional specialities, and taste preferences.’
      • ‘The piece consists of dialogue rapidly rattled off by the characters, as they sit or arrange themselves in different combinations around a pair of wooden benches.’
      • ‘Suggestions were made on the pairing of different wine and cheese, but participants were encouraged to try different combinations on their own.’
      • ‘Manufacturers are able to produce a wide variety of aerosol devices by configuring these elements in different combinations.’
      • ‘How do the various color combinations make them feel?’
      • ‘Executed in acrylic and a clear gel medium, each work displays a different color combination and wave pattern.’
      • ‘Each group includes different combinations of instruments; a newly formed a cappella vocal jazz ensemble will also be featured.’
      • ‘Not only has he been able to use different combinations, a run of six victories and one draw has engendered a mood of well-founded confidence amongst the players.’
      • ‘Seating offers a variety of arrangements: combinations enable the seating plan to be changed to suit four to two, or even one seat without any seats having to be removed.’
      • ‘Each member can play a variety of instruments and between them they can put all sorts of different combinations on the concert floor.’
      • ‘In every room, pre-programmed ‘scenes’ involving different combinations of lights can be used to capture exactly the right ambience.’
      • ‘Take today, for example - I saw a long-sleeved shirt that came in four different color combinations, three of which I liked.’
      • ‘Use tulips to try out different color combinations, he suggests.’
      • ‘The flexible seating and storage arrangements allow them to choose freely between different combinations of passengers and luggage.’
      • ‘The different partnerships and combinations have failed to gel over the last season.’
      • ‘At one point I did a lot of work with producing the same song in many different arrangements and instrumental combinations, sort of like a film maker experimenting with angles etc.’
      • ‘However, the situations under natural sunlight could be different, and the possible wavelength combinations are numerous.’
      • ‘Along with these yardages, made-ups, cushion cover and apparel are being displayed to show the varied combinations of different products.’
      cooperation, alliance, partnership, participation, association, concert
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    3. 1.3(in sport) a coordinated and effective sequence of moves.
      ‘a good uppercut/hook combination’
      • ‘If judges actually learn to score body shots or combinations, then the sport would resemble boxing.’
      • ‘Nothing short of extremely difficult exercises in a combination could give a gymnast the full 10 points.’
      • ‘Let's start with the triple lutz/triple toe loop combination.’
      • ‘The little combo clock adds that tense, time-based factor so players can incorporate their newly found move into a bigger combination.’
      • ‘Only four opening combinations have been used more than 2% of the time, which more than demonstrates the lack of choice open to the Turkish player.’
      • ‘Returning characters are not forgotten, as there is also a new range of moves and combinations.’
      • ‘She only landed a triple lutz/double toe loop combination and three other triples.’
      • ‘With this in mind - gamers should spend time with each character to get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses and how their moves and combinations work.’
      • ‘He stalked his moving opponent, throwing combinations and utilizing his movement to evade punches.’
      • ‘He stepped up a gear in the second, landing wonderful combinations before moving clear of danger, and he finished it with an 18-11 lead.’
      • ‘They do a throw triple Lutz, then a side-by-side triple Lutz/double toe loop combination.’
      • ‘Though these remain the standard buttons used, there are also more combinations and moves, ranging from barrel rolls to guiding missiles.’
      • ‘Eventually, the combination becomes one smooth move: just get the braking leg extended as soon as you flip.’
      • ‘In the first volume, he covers effective footwork, combinations, slashing and stabbing, counters against common attacks and more.’
      • ‘Now, with so many new moves and combinations to choose from, participants never have the same workout twice!’
      • ‘He has natural pass-rushing skills and instincts, but he must develop a better inside move and use more combinations.’
      • ‘Compare them with opening combinations of the past.’
      • ‘When shown in solo practice mode, running literarily hundreds of moves and combinations in elaborate, complex exercises, there is nothing dopey or dumb about him.’
      • ‘It does take a while to learn everything though as some of the moves require button combinations.’
      • ‘In this game, slick button combinations bring slick moves, which is the best way for you to get what you want.’
    4. 1.4[as modifier]Denoting an object or process that unites different uses, functions, or ingredients.
      ‘combination remedies contain painkiller, decongestant, and cough soother’
      • ‘There are also several combination meals for one to four people that contain a generous amount of food.’
      • ‘Because the bar comes down at a 45-degree angle, high cable rows function as a combination row and front pulldown.’
      • ‘Another surprise for Elizabeth was a reunion held at Christian Manor in 1987 for a combination Mother's Day and birthday celebration.’
      • ‘A hockey helmet consists of a shell, a foam lining and an optional face shield, cage, or combination visor and cage.’
      • ‘And then there's combination post-it notes and desk calenders.’
      • ‘At least this time she's ditched the three quarter length denim shorts for a sort of skirt and top combination thing.’
      • ‘Individual remedies are more potent, but if you're not sure which one is right for you, try a combination remedy.’
      • ‘The trial also compared the use of the combination drug with the single use of each active ingredient.’
      • ‘There are also combination cards with five pictures embracing the entire parish.’
      • ‘This response rate was not significantly different from the response rate of combination treatment.’
      • ‘And it was also used for combination scenes of the hero and the heroine.’
      • ‘When given a combination vaccine, three different disorders are introduced deep into the body.’
      • ‘The popularity of the over-the-counter combination remedies may well be changing the practice of homeopathy.’
      • ‘There is a wide variety of flavours and plenty of combination boxes to choose from.’
      • ‘The club also organise full day coach tours, combination tours of walks and coach and half day coach tours’
      • ‘Third, make combination plantings, which include a mixture of different species of shrubs and trees.’
      • ‘They are testing combination drugs which will knock down bacterial defences and allow antibiotics to do the work they were born to do.’
      • ‘In a slight change of direction all students were mixed into combination teams.’
      • ‘There was a noticeable trend towards the use of combination baler and wrapper machines among contractors and farmers making round bale silage.’
      • ‘There is also a combination dish with four different items for 210 baht.’
    5. 1.5Chemistry [mass noun]The joining of substances in a compound with new properties.
  • 2A sequence of numbers or letters used to open a combination lock.

    ‘underneath the picture is a safe: the combination is 210319’
    • ‘I went to my locker, number 278, entered the combination, and opened it.’
    • ‘Permits for individuals and small groups will be available from the Lake District National Park Authority and will be issued with combination numbers for locks.’
    • ‘I went to my locker, did my combination and pulled it open.’
    • ‘Figuring out a master combination is a methodical process of elimination, determining pin by pin how deep to cut the key.’
    • ‘Turning the dial and entering the correct combination, he pulled open the metal safe door and peered inside at the Manila folders it contained.’
    • ‘He set the safe on his bed, quickly put in the combination and opened it.’
    • ‘She said with a bite of sarcasm before quickly performing the combination and pulling open her locker.’
    • ‘She opened the school door and went running down the hall to her locker; she quickly twirled her combination and opened her locker and grabbed her book.’
    • ‘He turned the lock knob to put the combinations in and then opened it.’
    • ‘I shrugged it off, and went to my locker, and was in the process of doing the combination when I felt someone's eyes on me.’
    • ‘The leader rapidly tapped in the combination that opened the door and switched off the alarms.’
    • ‘He fiddled with his combination and opened his locker.’
    • ‘Finding just the right combination was a process akin to spinning the dial on a lock, praying each time to hit the right series.’
    • ‘Curious, she dialed her combination and opened the door.’
    • ‘She spun the combination and pulled open the door.’
    • ‘I smiled happily then turned and headed for my locker, dialed the combination, opened it up and stuck the new books I'd required on the shelf.’
    • ‘It must be a hidden safe, one that will only open if the right combination was dialed on the phone.’
    • ‘I dialed the combination and opened the locker's door.’
    • ‘If a bowler could figure out the combination, he could open up the safe and get the money.’
    • ‘The correct combination will open the device.’
  • 3British A motorcycle with a sidecar attached.

    • ‘He was last seen heading for Moscow on a motorbike/sidecar combination!’
    • ‘Racing with specially constructed motor cycle and sidecar combinations is a recognised but inherently very dangerous sport.’
    • ‘They moved at high speed, often with motorcycle combinations, ahead of the panzer divisions, to reconnoitre routes and maintain the momentum of the assault.’
    • ‘A thought I just had: how much do you hate it when motorbike/sidecar combinations come apart in films and the sidecar carries on on its own, usually ending up in a duck pond or hay stack.’
  • 4British dated A single undergarment covering the body and legs.

    ‘woollen combinations’
  • 5Mathematics
    A selection of a given number of elements from a larger number without regard to their arrangement.

    • ‘Mahavira gave special rules for the use of permutations and combinations which was a topic of special interest in Jaina mathematics.’
    • ‘His final publication was on combinations where he used the notation (m, n) for the combinations of n objects selected from m objects.’
    • ‘One of the hardest parts about doing problems that use permutations and combinations is deciding which formula to use.’
    • ‘Perhaps they're computing permutations of combinations?’
    • ‘The mathematical possibilities, the permutations and combinations, the percentages, all tended to mislead a good number of readers.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin combinatio(n-), from the verb combinare join two by two (see combine).