Definition of composition in English:



  • 1mass noun The nature of something's ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up.

    ‘the social composition of villages’
    • ‘Tourism has also accelerated immigration to Panajachel and furthered a gradual diversification in its social composition.’
    • ‘As diagenetic growth of authigenic apatite continues within a bone, the isotopic composition of the whole bone will trend towards a purely diagenetic signal.’
    • ‘Although their body fat was not reduced, the addition of the lean mass altered their body composition.’
    • ‘Endogenous LS is a complex, multicomponent mixture, the precise composition of which is still not completely defined.’
    • ‘Sojourner analyzed the chemical composition of fifteen rocks using its alpha proton X-ray spectrometer.’
    • ‘Though the clothes themselves are ordinary garments, they are by the nature of their composition all individual.’
    • ‘The cumulative effect, over billions of years, is to change the elemental composition of the universe.’
    • ‘Immigration policy has produced an extraordinary change in the ethnic composition of the U.S. population.’
    • ‘The ingredient and nutrient composition of the basal diet is presented in Tables 1 and 2.’
    • ‘Later Surveyor missions carried analytical instrumentation to determine the chemical composition of the soil samples.’
    • ‘The materials alchemists used were typically impure mixtures whose composition varied according the site from which they originated.’
    • ‘Underlying that growth was a dramatic shift in the ethnic composition of the population.’
    • ‘Finally, long-term cholesterol depletion could initiate compensatory changes in membrane lipid composition.’
    • ‘One such question has to do with the composition of the atmosphere as observed by Huygens.’
    • ‘For that reason the isotope composition of the labelling solution was determined.’
    • ‘But the exact composition of this mixture varies from person to person, depending on body chemistry and diet.’
    • ‘In tumors with heterogeneous cellularity, fields were selected to reflect the whole tumor composition.’
    • ‘Well, the concern and the uncertainty that we're facing now is that we're not sure about the nature of the chemical composition of the magma that is involved in driving this thing.’
    • ‘We are determined that the Armed Forces should better reflect the ethnic composition of the British population.’
    • ‘Currently, we create so much CO 2 this way that we are changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere.’
    make-up, constitution, configuration, structure, construction, conformation, formation, form, framework, fabric, anatomy, arrangement, organization, format, layout
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The action of putting things together; formation or construction.
      ‘the composition of a new government was announced in November’
      • ‘The importance of understanding the factors that play a part in EI formation and composition is critical to EI research.’
      • ‘Special attention should be paid to the problem of composition of the formations engaged in blockades.’
      formation, structure, organization
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2count noun A thing composed of various elements.
      ‘a theory is a composition of interrelated facts’
      • ‘Scientists analyze the minerals and compositions of certain distinctive elements of the dust to identify its origin.’
      • ‘The construction system reinforces this notion, with building elements being carefully articulated and assembled into a composition of plane and frame.’
      • ‘For calibration, a series of glass standards was chosen that corresponded closely to the major element compositions of the melt inclusions and matrix glasses.’
      • ‘Nominal compositions of the principal alloys are listed in Table 1.’
      • ‘They show some variation towards more evolved compositions, as suggested by the variation in incompatible elements.’
      • ‘He explained the true nature of man: a composition of elements which arise and then fall away immediately and which are devoid of an abiding substance, of a self.’
      • ‘Certain alloy compositions, however, exhibit a peculiar transformation on quenching.’
      • ‘Each of the burglars represents an aspect of the criminal subconscious, crime as a composition of elements.’
      • ‘This invention also relates to pharmaceutical compositions comprising these compounds.’
      • ‘It is important for heavy sections to be well inoculated and to be made from a composition low in trace elements.’
      • ‘A list of selected wrought copper alloy compositions and their properties is given in Table 1.’
      • ‘The range of elemental compositions displayed by individual glass shards combined with the consistency of many trace element ratios are characteristics of the Minoan glass.’
      • ‘The invention further comprises compositions incorporating the above compound.’
      • ‘The whole composition of pavilions and paving lacks design coherency.’
      • ‘Interpretation of elements and whole compositions often varies according to the informant.’
      amalgamation, amalgam, merger, union, blend, mixture, mix, mingling, meld, fusion, fusing, compound, alloy, marriage, weave, coalescence, coalition, pooling, integration, conjunction, incorporation, synthesis, composite, concoction
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3archaic Mental constitution; character.
      ‘persons who have a touch of madness in their composition’
      • ‘However, treatment may work differently in children, according to the severity of the trauma, a child's mental composition, and the availability of support.’
    4. 1.4often as modifier A compound artificial substance or material.
      ‘composition tiles’
      • ‘So it was soon banned as was hard composition rubber.’
      • ‘In high-traffic areas, Kastner says he uses modular carpet for high-wear areas and vinyl composition tile for corridors with less traffic.’
      • ‘A particular problem with composition shingles is that due to the heat-softening, they become very prone to damage.’
      • ‘Solid vinyl tile is a non-backed product that contains higher levels of vinyl resins, plasticizers and stabilizers than composition tile.’
      • ‘For example, composition tile consists of a vinyl surface with a separate backing.’
      • ‘We looked at copper, composition shingles, slate and concrete, and finally decided on rubber shingles made entirely from recycled tires.’
      • ‘A new, 500-space parking lot is hidden amid grassy dunes on which saltgrass is growing in durable composition material.’
      • ‘Excessive heat build-up in an attic can shorten the longevity of composition roof shingles by causing premature evaporation of the oils in the asphalt.’
      • ‘Wood composition sheathing may be glued to polyurethane and isocyanurate slabs of insulation in the same way as EPS panels.’
      • ‘Nickel alloys are normally welded with matching composition filler metals.’
      mixture, compound, amalgam, blend, mix, admixture
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Mathematics The successive application of functions to a variable, the value of the first function being the argument of the second, and so on.
      ‘composition of functions, when defined, is associative’
      • ‘Let's assume that we have some function which we can choose to write as a composition.’
      • ‘He continued to study functional analysis applications to integral equations producing a large number of papers on composition and permutable functions.’
    6. 1.6Physics The process of finding the resultant of a number of forces.
      ‘the composition of forces’
      • ‘Are the laws of acceleration and composition of forces nothing but arbitrary conventions?’
      • ‘An important consideration about the composition of forces is that the contribution of the several forces acting cannot be determined from information about the resultant motion.’
  • 2A creative work, especially a poem or piece of music.

    ‘Chopin's most romantic compositions’
    • ‘Musical compositions accompanying each piece help set the mood.’
    • ‘Despite the complex rhythms of his compositions, Stravinsky's music is imbued with the spirit of the dance, and it was not just in the scores written specifically for ballet that he produced ideal ballet music.’
    • ‘Josef Suk can always be counted upon to produce good, well crafted and melodious music and these three compositions certainly live up to that description.’
    • ‘His compositions comprise mainly chamber music, including string quartets and accompanied keyboard sonatas.’
    • ‘Mention the word ‘étude,’ and compositions by Chopin, Debussy or Czerny may come to mind.’
    • ‘Each of her dances, however, was created around different music, ranging from the baroque compositions of Johann Pachelbel to local folk songs.’
    • ‘It's a neat trick, actually, and sidesteps the innate structure that pervades dance music's more epic compositions.’
    • ‘This made it an object of desire in the homes of the fast-growing bourgeoisie, creating a market greedy for the sheet music of Chopin's compositions that poured into the shops.’
    • ‘At the same time, he fully recognises the impact of existing music on his own compositions.’
    • ‘There are also educational pieces, numerous compositions of chamber music and two concertos.’
    • ‘A song, of course, is a musical composition, a poem or ballad; a ballad is a short narrative poem adopted for reciting or for singing.’
    • ‘Because he wrote equally as well for the orchestra, the piano orchestral works are compositions all serious musicians should explore.’
    • ‘Itsuko Hasegawa, one of Japan's most widely respected architects, likens making architecture to the act of creating a poem or a musical composition.’
    • ‘It was later recognised as one of the iconic compositions of classical music.’
    • ‘Such motives form the basis for his musical compositions, especially the operas.’
    • ‘These include various compositions by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Haydn, Beethoven and Purcell.’
    • ‘One rarely associates the term ‘programmatic music’ with the compositions of Johannes Brahms.’
    • ‘Their repertoire spans from traditional Chinese music to contemporary Canadian compositions, and other cross-cultural pieces.’
    • ‘On a couple of tracks, he added a heavy dose of jazz in between his chamber music compositions.’
    • ‘He maintains clarity of form in the very nuclei of his compositions, namely the melodies that he derives from folk songs and dances, and transfers this to a larger scale.’
    work of art, work, creation, artistic work, literary work, musical work, opus, oeuvre, piece, arrangement
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1mass noun The action or art of producing a creative work such as a poem or piece of music.
      ‘the technical aspects of composition’
      • ‘Therefore, no objective standard exists for the composition or development of music.’
      • ‘They can endure anguish as they go through the process of composition.’
      • ‘At one level, no doubt, we could say that everything in a poet's life becomes integral to the composition of the poem, whatever the form or genre.’
      • ‘I preferred to study harmony, counterpoint and composition.’
      • ‘He brought his political commitment and his many talents - photography, journalism and music composition - to film-making.’
      • ‘Musicians will gain a broad range of skills including technology, performance, composition and music business.’
      • ‘Experience the process of composition of the art.’
      • ‘All of this work furthered my composition of new prose poems.’
      • ‘I'm deeply concerned with harmony, and yet it is the aspect of composition that is the most predetermined methodically.’
      • ‘It has a profound effect on literary composition.’
      • ‘It's an enjoyable experience in its own right and with a high standard of composition and performance the album could be ‘Music to watch clouds by’.’
      • ‘Esch decided to return to his prior vocation as an adjunct professor of prose composition at Harvard.’
      • ‘The notes are a bit dry but not technical and offer some educational insights into the composition of the music.’
      • ‘The other contests the students had to vie in were designing a book cover, radio jockeying, poetry composition, hairstyle, make-up, modelling and recitation.’
      • ‘Its singing melodies, rocking accompaniments and romantic harmonies advance the composition of nocturnes from Field to Chopin.’
      • ‘After the radio performance, the RTÉ producers encouraged the girls to continue to work together, as it was felt that they have an obvious talent for composition and performance.’
      • ‘In spite of his many talents and activities, he never lost sight of his primary mission - the composition of serious concert music.’
      • ‘Formal study followed at Latrobe University developing interests in 20th century composition, Jazz and Music from other cultures.’
      • ‘The selections have been arranged roughly in chronological order, by year of composition, a format that works surprisingly well.’
      • ‘Once you started writing, what effect did music have upon the composition of the poems and what composers might have influenced your work?’
      writing, creation, devising, making up, thinking up, framing, formulation, production, fashioning, origination, invention, concoction, compilation
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 An essay, especially one written by a school or college student.
      ‘we had a class composition, ‘My Best Friend’’
      • ‘But CStar is not limited to writing compositions for class.’
      • ‘The flag was saluted, cheers given for the King and senior classes were given the task of writing a composition on the greatness of the British Empire.’
      • ‘The study employed a total of five morphological and syntactic structures as unmarked and marked error types in two student compositions and investigated 40 professors' reactions to them.’
      • ‘The author subsequently met with six 10-year-olds, and asked them to write a composition about their school.’
      • ‘You know, sitting down to write about the weekend is a bit like being back at school and told to write a composition on ‘What I Did During The Holidays’.’
      • ‘We did not use newspaper, as the students' compositions would be much more visible on the plain surface than on ‘busy’ newsprint.’
      • ‘All through school I loved to write reports and compositions, but never anything that would reveal the feelings going on inside me.’
      • ‘Judging from school compositions, he was writing and talking like this when he was eleven.’
      • ‘Written compositions will show a familiarity with informal, spoken English.’
      • ‘In the English syllabus I enjoyed writing compositions, but I didn't really like sentence analysis.’
      • ‘We began writing compositions in school when I was 11 or 12.’
      • ‘When I was at school in the 1940s and 50s, we were asked to write compositions on how we would spend this leisure time and what kind of tourism we would like to see developed.’
      • ‘It was all a dream - as we used to say at the end of our compositions in elementary school.’
      • ‘I recall once going over a five-page composition I'd written for his class and counting over thirty be-verbs.’
      • ‘When I teach college composition to ESL students, I spend much of my time thinking about linguistic matters.’
      • ‘The choice of compositions offered to ordinary-level students included one on the topic of travelling on a school bus.’
      • ‘Results supporting this hypothesis are presented from analyses of 114 compositions written by French and Japanese background learners of English.’
      • ‘The sources of data included oral interviews, written compositions, and letters.’
      • ‘Our homework from Friday was to write a composition on our dream for the world with a forward from Dr. Martian Luther King's speech at the top.’
      essay, paper, article, text, study, piece of writing
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 The artistic arrangement of the parts of a picture.
      ‘none of the other photographs shared this particular composition’
      • ‘Here Sherman lauded the manner in which elements in Cezanne's pictures were adjusted for the sake of the composition, independent of laws of reality.’
      • ‘The rows vary in texture and density, from single pages to cardboard book covers, undulating in a wavelike pattern across the horizontal composition.’
      • ‘Her first pictures were of fishermen, factory workers, and lorry drivers, all remarkable for their composition and colouring.’
      • ‘Here, his composition, line and Fauvist hues abstract the imagined essence of flowers on conspicuous stalks that may be heading on to hip and seed.’
      • ‘The larger paintings are staged in a manner characteristic of Manet's early studio compositions.’
      • ‘In a number of instances, the choice of the artist commissioned to produce a portrait is as significant as the portrait's format or composition.’
      • ‘Frightened is also a pretty picture, but the composition is a little complex, and we can almost hear the noise when the artist cut the woodblock.’
      • ‘The latter two works have an irregularly repeated fringelike pattern that anchors the composition.’
      • ‘The space-box is replaced by compositions organized through a loose symmetry.’
      • ‘It is what one might expect of an artist experimenting with the composition of a companion picture.’
      • ‘For composition is not just a way to organize a picture.’
      • ‘Some of the artists worked out their compositions with small sketches, at other times they would work with a spontaneous intuitive flow, reacting and responding to their evolving composition.’
      • ‘Both paintings share similar compositions; an enormous crane and a fragment of sky are shown where the towers used to be.’
      • ‘A zone of smeared blue pushes in from the upper right corner, destabilizing the composition, giving the brushwork it impinges on a frenetic quality.’
      • ‘Including him also helped Holbein to balance the composition, which is slightly weighted to the left in the drawing.’
      • ‘Rubens sometimes used monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers.’
      • ‘Artists draw a composition on a block of wood and then cut away the areas they do not want to ink, leaving a relief of the intended image.’
      arrangement, disposition, layout, design, organization, construction
      View synonyms
  • 3mass noun The preparation of text for printing by setting up characters or by establishing its style and appearance electronically.

    ‘an external contractor providing computerized composition and typesetting’
  • 4A legal agreement to pay a sum in lieu of a larger debt or other obligation.

    ‘he had been released by deed on making a composition with the creditors’
    • ‘Private compositions required the debtor to turn over all their assets, usually less a few exempted items such as bedding, for distribution among creditors.’
    • ‘His losses were as large as those of his friends, but in a secret composition in 1892 he paid just sixpence in the pound, only to recover so quickly that he was known to be very rich indeed by 1900.’
    1. 4.1 A sum paid in lieu of a larger debt.
      ‘Royalists redeemed their sequestrated estates by paying compositions’
      • ‘An acceptance by the holder of the acceptor's offer to pay a composition is not a renunciation of the holder's rights.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin compositio(n-), from componere ‘put together’.