Definition of compatible in English:



often compatible with
  • 1(of two things) able to exist or occur together without problems or conflict.

    ‘the careers structure here is not compatible with having a family’
    • ‘As I have already suggested, this clarity of style was compatible with considerable compression, even elusiveness, in argumentative structure.’
    • ‘Independent empirical testability is the hallmark of science - in science, an explanation must not only be compatible with the observed data, it must also be testable.’
    • ‘The select committee should also look at those processes to make sure they are compatible with existing law.’
    • ‘Finally, his valorisation of tolerance above all other things, is all too compatible with injustice (albeit that such a notion may not have the same ring in the minds of torturers as it will in the minds of victims).’
    • ‘War and conflict do not appear to be compatible with the natural order, or at least a peaceful and harmonious version of it.’
    • ‘I would hate to see one region come up with a strategy to develop its programmes, and another neighbouring region come up with a strategy that conflicts with or is not compatible with it.’
    • ‘What existing NRCS programs are compatible with organic production, and how can organic producers find out information about these programs?’
    • ‘In fact, our lunar friend provides an instructive example of how a vulgar and dogmatic notion of ‘science’ can be quite compatible with the most arcane fantasies.’
    • ‘Several detection methods exist that are compatible with the maximum information method.’
    • ‘There are many otherwise viable cosmological models that are not compatible with the observation that human observers exist.’
    • ‘This is hardly compatible with the humanitarian effort.’
    • ‘The remit should be to independently evaluate the agreed programme for spending and tax reductions to ensure that they are compatible with the needs of the economy as a whole and to protect the undoubted gains of recent years.’
    • ‘The first feature is that perception aims at truth, though in a way that is compatible with us being able to disbelieve our perceptions.’
    • ‘The clearest, or rather the most basic, test of whether strong measures are compatible with a free society is whether the government is willing to be open with the public about what it is doing in their name.’
    • ‘Shared assumptions are compatible with corporate agendas: maximizing profits while minimizing concern for people at the lower rungs of the economic ladder.’
    • ‘Education ministry officials claimed that the statute would be entirely compatible with the provisions of the 1999 Bologna Declaration, which sets out standards for higher education.’
    • ‘The guidelines would need to be compatible with existing procedures for consent in research and clinical care and consider any potential medicolegal issues.’
    • ‘A different, more thoughtful outcome was possible, and entirely compatible with public attitudes.’
    • ‘This suggests that recognising authority is quite compatible with trusting, and that one can rationally trust someone with great power, at least so far as we recognise that person as an authority.’
    • ‘What I say is, if you're going to do it under the United Nations, then the impact has got to be compatible with the principles of the United Nations charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’
    1. 1.1 (of two people) able to have a harmonious relationship; well suited.
      ‘it's a pity we're not compatible’
      • ‘M is my wife, and I had written that we are compatible in all respects, except for hang-ups regarding past relationships.’
      • ‘She later had an astrological chart drawn up on him and concluded that they were not compatible enough, according to Simmons.’
      • ‘It has been estimated that 96% of the people who use online dating services fail to find a compatible person with whom to have a dating relationship.’
      • ‘Our relationship isn't perfect, and we're not completely compatible, but I feel like he's not giving us a chance if he decides to jump ship after only five months of dating.’
      well suited, suited, well matched, like-minded, of the same mind, in agreement, in tune, in harmony, reconcilable
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of one thing) consistent with another.
      ‘the symptoms were compatible with gastritis or a peptic ulcer’
      • ‘Data from more than 300 deliveries indicate no birth defects compatible with congenital varicella syndrome.’
      consistent, reconcilable, consonant, congruous, congruent, fitting
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Computing (of a computer, piece of software, etc.) able to be used with a specified piece of equipment or software without special adaptation or modification.
      ‘the printer is fully compatible with all leading software’
      • ‘The software is compatible with most Windows operating systems and takes minutes to install and run.’
      • ‘Another possible group are companies writing compatible software.’
      • ‘The idea was to have a system that was compatible with existing PIII notebooks.’
      • ‘A user buying Ethernet infrastructure products can be confident they will be compatible and interoperable with equipment from other suppliers.’
      • ‘One other thing worth mentioning is to ensure that the burning software used is compatible with the operating system (in this case, Windows XP).’
      • ‘In addition to simple workflow management software, compatible software is what studies show businesses are looking for.’
      • ‘Whether or not your laptop's dialing software was compatible with the hotel's PBX was a matter of doubt.’
      • ‘Because the system can transmit multiple text streams, it may also be used for language translation; its software is internationally compatible.’
      • ‘For long-term data storage, what provisions are needed for having compatible hardware and software to read the data years after it has been created?’
      • ‘What companies lose on the hardware they make up for by requiring all software vendors to pay stiff licensing fees to release compatible software titles.’
      • ‘We needed a cost-effective solution that was scalable and modular, as well as compatible with existing technology and software.’
      • ‘In fact, the European Union has a law guaranteeing the legality of reverse-engineering for the purpose of creating compatible software or devices.’
      • ‘The main network protocols are open for anyone to use and produce compatible software.’
      • ‘Make sure the hardware and software you purchase are compatible with your computer.’
      • ‘Attempts to make the new control system in South Yorkshire compatible with existing analogue technology has caused the breakdowns and delays that have plagued the system over several months.’
      • ‘Experience has shown that attempting to produce audio disks that are compatible with existing players but which are immune to ripping or burning is fraught with problems.’
      • ‘It is also important that all corporate notebooks are interchangeable, because when it comes to docking stations, you want to make sure every laptop is compatible with every docking station.’
      • ‘If you organize your pictures with a product like Adobe Photoshop Album or Apple's IPhoto, will compatible software exist twenty years hence?’
      • ‘The first thing you will need is a compatible computer.’
      • ‘Make sure that your projector has connectors that are compatible with the laptop computer you plan to use with it.’


  • A computer that can use software designed for another make or type.

    ‘packages available for IBM PCs and compatibles’
    • ‘But it also wants to keep the extensibility and general-purpose functionality of an IBM compatible.’
    • ‘For many, obviously, this signals quite a milestone - seeing as non-Mac desktop computers used to be referred to as IBM compatibles.’


Late Middle English: from French, from medieval Latin compatibilis, from compati ‘suffer with’.