Definition of compose in English:

compose

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Write or create (a work of art, especially music or poetry)

    ‘he composed the First Violin Sonata four years earlier’
    • ‘I also started doing more composing using a piano instead of a computer to write.’
    • ‘Brahms had all but given up before tonight's works were composed, having written his will in 1891 and gone into a self-imposed retirement.’
    • ‘After his initial input the children went on to compose their own poems.’
    • ‘Why do you compose grand opera, now here in the 21st century?’
    • ‘Next is a video journal of Crowe's preparations for the role, set to music largely composed by him.’
    • ‘He also composes music to suit the lead characters of a particular film.’
    • ‘I almost always compose using material originally produced through improvisation.’
    • ‘She's one of those students preparing for National Science Week with some specially composed songs.’
    • ‘He also composed music, wrote poetry, had at least two books published and was a very accomplished artist.’
    • ‘Although he never had any musical training, Noel started composing for the piano shortly after leaving high school.’
    • ‘Poets composed hundreds of verses on the love story and many types of Chinese opera tell the story.’
    • ‘I composed what I knew would quickly become Noel's theme.’
    • ‘Sung's music embraces the past but could only have been composed in the 21st century!’
    • ‘The specially composed three-minute piece of music will be performed at Manchester Cathedral on Friday June 11.’
    • ‘In the 1770s he began composing symphonies, concertos, operas and theater music.’
    • ‘So both pieces are composed for a weird ensemble, with unconventional weightings of timbre and register.’
    • ‘Ballads have been penned, poems have been composed and ditties have been compiled.’
    • ‘I am madly in love with composing for orchestra and hope to die writing an orchestral piece!’
    • ‘When he composes his first opera, it is sure to attract attention.’
    • ‘And that is what led them to compose songs on the World Cup theme.’
    write, create, devise, make up, think up, frame, formulate, fashion, produce, originate, invent, contrive, concoct
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    1. 1.1 Phrase (a letter or piece of writing) with great care and thought.
      ‘the first sentence is so hard to compose’
      • ‘As he composed his letter, four of his friends were listening to the radio while gluing together model airplanes.’
      • ‘Mark is still composing the letter to our last dentist.’
      • ‘None of them looked as if they were itching to hurry home and compose a letter of outrage to the Evening Press.’
      • ‘She managed to keep pace with the small talk, but inside, she was already composing a letter to Bruno.’
      • ‘After the meeting they composed a letter to roundly voice their opposition to the prospect of the club, which they all represented with such distinction, folding at the end of this season if a suitable buyer cannot be found.’
      • ‘I've composed long letters to long lost friends.’
      • ‘Reaching home, he composes his first letter to Jacobson in over twenty years.’
      • ‘He sat, chewing on the end of a pen, composing what looked to be a letter.’
      • ‘I awoke this morning with a need to compose the letter I've attached below.’
      • ‘Here are a few hints on composing these vital letters.’
      • ‘The letter was composed on common cream-laid paper.’
      • ‘She has already raised £6,500 for the home by composing an appeal letter seeking donations for the hospice at Oxenhope.’
      • ‘Which is ironic because I've just spent the last hour composing a letter.’
      • ‘When Zhao realizes the actual letter is nothing but transparent excuses he composes a loving letter from the father of her dreams.’
      • ‘The next one is about night rain, a poem in which the husband is composing a letter to his wife.’
      • ‘For some, communication may be easier because they can compose what they are going to say.’
      • ‘I composed a terse letter in my head to Lonely Planet.’
      • ‘Your elderly letter writers who have a hard time composing a good letter are just out of luck unless they have an angel, eh?’
      • ‘I'm composing a letter to her, but it might take me a little while to write.’
      • ‘There is a splendid tale of the latter, his pen dripping in irony and vitriol, composing a letter to the United board congratulating them on their ground improvements in the aftermath of his own promises to build a new stadium.’
    2. 1.2 Form (a whole) by ordering or arranging the parts, especially in an artistic way.
      ‘compose and draw a still life’
      • ‘Phillips first composes his arrangements using design software, then executes them in oils on rectangular canvases and circular panels.’
      • ‘You have to arrange the items and compose the shot to make the subject the hero.’
      • ‘The painting is composed from places the artist knew well, but it is mainly a product of his imagination rather than being a painting of a particular scene.’
      • ‘Panoramic and establishing shots are nicely composed but not drawn out unnecessarily.’
      • ‘He returned to classical principles of composing his designs with few figures and a pale, even-toned palette that focuses attention on the plastically conceived figures.’
      • ‘They tend to organise and compose a subject then use the camera to record it.’
      • ‘So the researchers believe that one artist painted Madonna and one canonized pair, while three other artists composed the remaining faces.’
      • ‘Of these, a corresponding plan and façade together compose an experiment to reshape the streets and buildings to either side of the portico.’
      • ‘Follow these basic rules for composing your design’
      • ‘In the Composition video, importance is placed on how to compose a balanced still life, as well as how to find compositional elements in a landscape.’
      • ‘To begin a painting, he lays out his notes, and composes an elaborate pencil drawing on fine sanded canvas, on which he incorporates his poems and related Scriptural texts.’
      • ‘She uses decoration deliberately, as a contextual strategy and artistic choice to compose her pictorial space.’
      • ‘The jump from carefully composed illustration to crudely arranged website was quite jarring.’
      • ‘Taken together, these memory vignettes composed a portrait of an artist as a young entrepreneur.’
      • ‘Adobe Photoshop was used to compose bitmap figures and Corel Draw was used to compose line drawings.’
      • ‘The Chinese artists rather compose the final design from several blocks.’
      • ‘Some photographs look as though they've been deliberately composed, with the figures and their expressions carefully arranged to convey a particular message.’
      • ‘The picture of flowers from three seasons, arranged in a terracotta vase, is admirably composed, with a trailing coherence of tendrils and twisting stalks.’
      design, arrange, plan, organize, work out, frame, balance, order, map out, construct, put together, shape, form, concoct
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  • 2(of elements) constitute or make up (a whole, or a specified part of it)

    ‘the National Congress is composed of ten senators’
    ‘Christians compose 40 per cent of the state's population’
    • ‘Mineral crystal is glass, which is composed of several elements that aid in resisting scratches (it is seven times harder than acrylic crystal).’
    • ‘The tumor cells were mainly composed of elongated spindle cells arranged in fascicles.’
    • ‘The stroma of the tumor was composed of thin fibrous tissue.’
    • ‘Only 14% of the Arabidopsis genome is composed of transposable elements.’
    • ‘Such an army needs to be composed of three elements: garrison troops, mobile contingents, and a central rapid deployment force.’
    • ‘Art, in its many forms, is composed of several elements.’
    • ‘Each ring is composed of seven identical subunits, which enclose a central cavity.’
    • ‘They have a rough surface, and are essentially composed of concentric layers.’
    • ‘In the case of gramicidin, this chain is composed entirely of water molecules and called a water wire.’
    • ‘Cytologically, the tumor cells were composed mainly of polygonal cells with epithelioid features.’
    • ‘The driver's figure is composed of relatively few elements and, perched on a buckboard, seems diminutive in comparison to the neighboring group.’
    • ‘Carbonate skins are composed primarily of carbonate, usually calcium carbonate, but the carbonate is sometimes combined with magnesium.’
    • ‘They were composed almost entirely of slender spindle cells haphazardly proliferating around bundles of dermal collagen.’
    • ‘Saturn's rings are composed primarily of water ice particles, and range in size from micrometers to meters.’
    • ‘Second, the sample is composed mainly of Caucasian individuals.’
    • ‘In essence, what I found was that guerrilla warfare is composed of three elements.’
    • ‘Nallatech reconfigurable computers are composed of three main elements.’
    • ‘Let us assume that the leaf is composed of thin, serial layers.’
    • ‘A substantial fraction of vertebrate and invertebrate genomes is composed of mobile elements and their derivatives.’
    • ‘A large fraction of the eukaryotic DNA is composed of transposable elements that can cause mutations when they transpose to novel sites.’
    make up, constitute, form, comprise
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  • 3Calm or settle (oneself or one's features or thoughts)

    ‘she tried to compose herself’
    • ‘I lay my head on the pillow, relax, and compose myself for sleep.’
    • ‘As I step forward to check in with the next guard, my grandmother retreats to the bathroom to compose herself.’
    • ‘He took several moments to compose himself, visibly struggling for control.’
    • ‘I took a few well needed seconds to compose myself, and I was thankfully returned to a calm and collected state, on the outside at least.’
    • ‘Nearing the door, she stopped to compose herself, breathing deeply, and collecting her thoughts.’
    • ‘When I finally managed to compose myself long enough to tell Liz what had made me cry, she began crying, which of course got me started all over again.’
    • ‘She paused while the raging feelings ran through her body, making her shake even though she tried to compose herself.’
    • ‘The judge gave the witness a break to compose himself before he continued and described how he jumped first and landed in the garden, skin coming off his blistering hand.’
    • ‘He had recovered from his scare but the walking hadn't helped his struggle to compose himself.’
    • ‘‘Even without the meditation session, I had to take a few deep breaths to compose myself in the face of such a huge gathering’, he said.’
    • ‘But he did manage to compose himself long enough to welcome everyone who had come to the opening and to thank his staff without whom his business would not be the success it is.’
    • ‘As often as possible, please compose yourselves in the equanimity of thought-free wakefulness.’
    • ‘It is just you that is down and you have to find ways to pull yourself together, to compose yourself.’
    • ‘The Prince took a deep breath as he tried to compose himself before speaking in a tone all too calm.’
    • ‘I wipe the tears from my eyes and struggle to compose myself.’
    • ‘All three men retell their stories of disillusionment slowly and methodically, taking breaks to compose themselves.’
    • ‘Even as he watched, she wiped a tear from her cheek, and visibly struggled to compose herself.’
    • ‘She did become upset at one stage and we stopped the interview to allow her to compose herself.’
    • ‘Why not wait until all of the crew members have had a chance to get home and rested and compose themselves a bit?’
    • ‘I sat in silence, trying to compose myself mentally and emotionally for what was sure to be an unnerving event.’
    calm down, settle down, control oneself, recover one's composure, regain one's composure, pull oneself together, get control of oneself, collect oneself, steady oneself, keep one's head, simmer down
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    1. 3.1archaic Settle (a dispute)
      ‘the king, with some difficulty, composed this difference’
      resolve, straighten out, sort out, clear up, settle, put right, set right, set to rights, find a solution to, solve, remedy, heal, cure, rectify
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  • 4Prepare (a text) for printing by manually, mechanically, or electronically setting up the letters and other characters in the order to be printed.

    ‘in offices where close-set text was composed both men and women pieceworkers were normally employed’
    • ‘He built an electronic printing system that would allow business customers to compose documents on an online template.’
    • ‘Once pages were composed, therefore, there was very little time for proof-correction before they had to be printed off and the types reused.’

Usage

For an explanation of the differences between compose and comprise, see comprise

Origin

Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘put together, construct’): from Old French composer, from Latin componere (see component), but influenced by Latin compositus ‘composed’ and Old French poser ‘to place’.

Pronunciation

compose

/kəmˈpəʊz/