Main definitions of compound in English

: compound1compound2

compound1

noun

  • 1A thing that is composed of two or more separate elements; a mixture.

    ‘the air smelled like a compound of diesel and petrol fumes’
    • ‘An enormous number of naturally occurring and synthetic compounds are known to be photosensitizers commonly used in photobiological studies.’
    • ‘Quick-setting cement compounds are a mixture of cement, sand and other ingredients, and are designed to mix with water.’
    • ‘Simply stated an object composed of many compounds can have one frequency.’
    • ‘The two sets of compounds are separated by partitioning a mixture between phosphate buffer and ether.’
    • ‘In the last 100 years, humans have introduced hundreds of new, synthetic compounds into the environment.’
    • ‘There is a particular smell, a compound, I think, of floor polish and burnt egg, which I shall forever associate with boarding school.’
    • ‘If the different compounds of a mixture act synergistically, greater toxicity or deterrence may result.’
    • ‘He prepared mixtures of many compounds, which he used to paint his posters.’
    • ‘The most popular gallery was the one dedicated to works in chocolate, spices, birdseed and so on, the smell a compound of the enticing and the fetid.’
    • ‘Now the sophistication of the device has authorities pretty rattled, especially as a unique mixture of explosive compounds was involved.’
    • ‘Many of these are natural and found in food at doses millions of times greater than those to which we are exposed by synthetic compounds.’
    • ‘It is easier to identify a specific target with newer sensitizers, as these tend to be a pure compound rather than a mixture.’
    • ‘Pyrolized Mobil jet oil showed the greatest complex pattern, with overlapping peaks indicating poor separation of compounds.’
    • ‘Also, the relative amounts of the different compounds of the mixture tend to be more even, which is reflected in lower dominance values.’
    • ‘Improvements were made over the years to the syntheses of all these compounds, but I'm not going to go into the details.’
    • ‘Very often farmers will have to choose between a blend or a true compound.’
    • ‘These two fears compose a powerful compound - sufficient to prop up governments everywhere on earth for several millennia.’
    • ‘A brick's color can be attributed to its clay composition, any added compounds, its firing temperature and any surface treatments.’
    • ‘A small sample of the compound (or a mixture of compounds) is placed in a strong magnetic field.’
    • ‘During these processes, the energy from these compounds can be released for use by the body or stored in body tissues, especially the liver, muscles, and body fat.’
    amalgam, amalgamation, combination, composite, blend, mixture, mix, admixture, meld, fusion, synthesis, consolidation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A substance formed from two or more elements chemically united in fixed proportions.
      ‘a compound of hydrogen and oxygen’
      ‘lead compounds’
      • ‘For this he designed and produced an aromatic chemical compound.’
      • ‘Chemists most often use distillation to separate and purify compounds in a mixture.’
      • ‘The layers of plants and animals slowly broke down into simple substances called hydrocarbons, compounds of hydrogen and carbon.’
      • ‘This energy is used to produce new organic compounds form carbon dioxide, and thus enables bacteria to grow and divide in the absence of light.’
      • ‘Nitrogenous compounds have become a major global pollutant in freshwater and estuarine ecosystems.’
      • ‘The empirical formula of a compound is that which is obtained through laboratory research.’
      • ‘Once the active chemical compound has been identified, its molecular structure must be determined.’
      • ‘Chemistry is the study of elements and compounds and interactions between substances.’
      • ‘But so far only 120 plant derived chemical compounds have been developed into modern drugs.’
      • ‘Organic compounds and other covalently bonded molecules do not dissolve well in water.’
      • ‘Metals usually make positive ions when the compounds are dissolved in solution.’
      • ‘Also, the burning of methane turns the carbon in it into a compound (carbon dioxide) that is far less potent as a greenhouse gas.’
      • ‘When they do so, they form ionic compounds.’
      • ‘Substitution reactions of organic compounds can also involve free radicals.’
      • ‘Chemical forces are forces caused by other compounds or molecules that act on substances.’
      • ‘These substances are compounds because the molecules that make it up have two kinds of atoms.’
      • ‘When a halogen combines with another element, the resulting compound is called a halide.’
      • ‘Exhaust gases include harmful volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons, chemicals such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.’
      • ‘Diesel particulate matter consists of soot mixed with anything from volatile organic compounds to sulphur and nitrous oxides.’
      • ‘Dr. Miller says a compound called nitric oxide is known to play a role in the dilation of the endothelium.’
    2. 1.2 A word made up of two or more existing words.
      • ‘You could compare this to an English compound like ‘chair lift’.’
      • ‘They can be used as components of compounds, but if they are used on their own they must be used with possessive prefixes.’
      • ‘The first case concerns the use of a noun as a modifier in a compound.’
      • ‘We also included some compounds with self-, like the ubiquitous self-identify, which has a number of uses.’
      • ‘The Oxford English Dictionary lists 125 compounds of the word ‘snow’ alone!’
      • ‘In New Zealand the word Maori was productive in forming compounds: Maori axe, Maori welcome, Maori scone, Maori council, and so on.’
      • ‘Compounds of conditionals are a hard problem for everyone.’
      • ‘Terms like megastore or hypertext are also called compounds, because they are combinations of free-standing words with prefixes or suffixes.’
      • ‘It's not the dictionary term I may or may not vaguely remember, which was not a German compound.’
      • ‘They really are all around us, these compounds that are six nouns deep or more.’
      • ‘Names for body parts such as ai ‘eye’ and maus ‘mouth’ are used as metaphors in many pidgins and Creoles, and occur quite often in compounds.’
      • ‘The name is a compound of two words meaning The Vine of Death or The Vine of the Spirits.’
      • ‘The orthography was developed by Nance from the surviving texts, and vocabulary is extended by analogizing from Breton and Welsh and forming compounds from existing words.’
      • ‘Lexicalisation doesn't have to involve making up a new word, it could be a compound, or an existing word could be broadened.’
      • ‘American English has the general term car for railway vehicles, which British English only uses in compounds, such as restaurant car or sleeping car.’
      • ‘It's certainly not a compound, and I can't imagine what two meanings might be evoked by this word in order to produce the intended effect.’
      • ‘When two words are joined together, the resultant compound cannot be interpreted on the basis of the separate, individual components.’
      • ‘Here's a brief listing of some of the many compounds starting in cyber.’

adjective

  • 1Made up or consisting of several parts or elements.

    ‘a compound noun’
    • ‘That is, they cannot be used in isolation but must occur either as part of a compound word or with a possessive prefix.’
    • ‘So in this pundit's view, the spelling determines compound status and thus the plural.’
    • ‘The compound nouns are chasing the adverbs out of the language.’
    • ‘When you have two different elements, there are usually only two words in the compound name.’
    • ‘The compound term bloc-notes is an old one, whose meaning strikes me as rather inappropriate as a basis for extension to blogging.’
    • ‘I was about to take my colleague to task for failing to hyphenate ‘best known’ when using it as a compound adjective.’
    • ‘He did so by combining two complex ideas - or at least two abstract compound nouns - in a new way.’
    • ‘The new company about to be born will have a compound name.’
    • ‘Too bad we can't hear the pronunciation: does any gate also have compound pronunciation, like anyway?’
    composite, complex
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of interest) payable on both capital and the accumulated interest.
      ‘compound interest’
      Compare with simple
      • ‘The current three-year issue pays a compound interest rate of 1.05 % over inflation.’
      • ‘This highlights the very significant role played by compound rates of interest.’
      • ‘This is where compound interest calculators can be so useful, provided you don't get carried away with outlandish annual growth rates.’
      • ‘Under private accounts, saving at younger ages counts more than saving at older ages because early savings have more years to accumulate compound interest.’
      • ‘For the hero of Mark Twain's story things came a relatively easily, but the rest of us must rely on the ‘miracle’ of compound interest.’
      • ‘You can also try putting a few numbers into our compound interest calculator.’
      • ‘Some experimentation with our compound interest calculators can then show you how your investment plans are bearing up.’
      • ‘Taxpayers, however, run into problems because of the city's high compound interest rate applied to unpaid amounts - a steep 18 per cent a year.’
      • ‘The current three-year issue pays a compound interest rate of 1.05% over inflation.’
      • ‘The effect of compound interest, Einstein's ‘eighth wonder of the world’, can also be seen.’
      • ‘As simplistic as this may sound, she instinctively understands the power of compound interest.’
      • ‘So should we all assume a lower growth rate when playing with our compound interest calculators?’
      • ‘One easy way to use interest to your advantage is to understand and apply the magic of compound interest.’
      • ‘Effectively, their Lordships' decision enables banks to charge compound interest even at the penalty rate chargeable upon the customer's default.’
      • ‘The bank rate, which garners much attention as an indicator of the health and direction of the economy, is a compound interest rate.’
      • ‘Thanks to the power of compound interest, the longer that you invest, the greater your gain.’
      • ‘And why not take advantage of compound interest while you're at it?’
      • ‘Given the power of compound interest and plenty of patience, even people on a modest income can become much richer.’
      • ‘After all, it's silly to spend $300 billion today when, after compound interest, it will be worth $500 billion in a few decades.’
      • ‘Because ultimately, you know, the miracle of compound interest becomes a nightmare.’
    2. 1.2Biology (especially of a leaf, flower, or eye) consisting of two or more simple parts or individuals in combination.
      • ‘The female reproductive structures of flowers are the carpels, which are either free, or are fused to form a compound ovary.’
      • ‘Leymus chinensis flowers are hermaphroditic and arranged in compound spikes.’
      • ‘Leaves are opposite on the stem and mostly compound with three to five leaflets.’
      • ‘The buckwheat inflorescence is a compound raceme that produces laterally flowered cymose clusters, the number of which was affected by the position of the inflorescence along the main stem.’
      • ‘These specialized plants generally have spike-like compound inflorescences, comprised of paired cymules of tiny flowers that are sessile within succulent free or fused bracts.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Make up (a composite whole); constitute.

    ‘a dialect compounded of Spanish and Dutch’
    • ‘His style was compounded of elements drawn from Titian, Dürer, and Parmigianino, whose prints he copied.’
    • ‘At the sight of them a rude, equally animal resentment rises in me, compounded of shame, fear, and ignoble joy not to be one of them.’
    • ‘All propositions are simple or compounded of simples.’
    • ‘That illusion, like the touching belief that one party is always better than the other, is compounded of near-equal parts naiveté and cynicism.’
    • ‘The renouncers' attitude was compounded of dark bitterness and bright hope.’
    • ‘The horrifying scene was compounded of darkness, silhouettes of mountains, and beyond the mountains, a red glow which rose to the sky, from remote fires.’
    • ‘We can see wave movements not just compounded of different qualities but compounded of different, even noncontiguous, spaces.’
    • ‘Society is compounded of all kinds of interests and meanings involved with social action.’
    • ‘It was compounded of loose soil to be sure, but also of a great deal more, including soot and ashes and street litter, and the fecal matter of the legion horses on whom all transport in London depended.’
    • ‘All animals are compounded of various organs, each of which exercising a separate function, and in a manner peculiar to itself, concurs to the preservation of the whole.’
    • ‘This is effectively a pot of stew originally compounded of cheap cuts of mutton, potatoes, and onions.’
    be composed of, be made up of, be constituted of, be formed from
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Mix or combine (ingredients or constituents)
      ‘the groundnuts were compounded into cattle food’
      • ‘As Greek pharmacists found that there was more money to be made in compounding and mixing cosmetics, physicians were compelled out of necessity to return to making their own drugs.’
      • ‘When we compound prescriptions, we mix ingredients specific to each patient's needs.’
      • ‘The pharmacist then compounds the necessary ingredients and dispenses the medication to the patient.’
      • ‘We compound various strengths and combinations of thyroid hormone.’
      • ‘We compounded the mixture of the medicinal herbs according to the season and the patient's condition.’
      mix, combine, blend, put together, amalgamate, alloy, fuse, synthesize, coalesce, mingle, meld, intermingle
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Reckon (interest) on previously accumulated interest.
      ‘the yield at which the interest is compounded’
      • ‘He further concluded that interest could continue to be compounded even after a bank had demanded repayment or called up the loan.’
      • ‘The savings will earn an interest rate of 5 per cent compounded annually.’
      • ‘This may be because not only is the Royal Bank of Scotland rate currently pitched below that of its rivals HSBC and Barclays, but for some bizarre reason the interest is not compounded.’
      • ‘Interest was to be compounded in accordance with the bank's current practice from time to time.’
      • ‘Contract law principles may require such interest to be compounded so as to award the plaintiff the benefit of the bargain.’
      • ‘Interest on these bonds is accumulated monthly and compounded every six months.’
      • ‘The AER shows what the notional interest rate would be if the interest was compounded and paid once a year.’
      • ‘While I'm puttering around playing with words, other people are investing and accumulating and feathering their nests and compounding their interest.’
      • ‘I-Bonds deliver a guaranteed rate of interest above the inflation rate and the interest they earn is compounded semiannually.’
      • ‘Compounded annually, that growth rate is dramatic.’
      • ‘Each thread compounds interest on half the loans in a database.’
  • 2Make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of.

    ‘prisoners' lack of contact with the outside world compounds their problems’
    • ‘The paper also points out that individual land uses often interact synergistically, compounding their negative effect on habitats and birds.’
    • ‘It merely compounds the problem as interest on your outstanding loans accumulates.’
    • ‘This is further compounded by varying ideas of what constitutes proper and improper dress.’
    • ‘Management crises are compounding the problems.’
    • ‘All of this is compounded by the fact that the whole stalking and lurking phase of these sequences is tedious and suspense-free.’
    • ‘When it is compounded by the anxiety that accompanies panic disorder, the patient and physician have a delicate situation on their hands.’
    • ‘But the report merely compounds the confusion by never once defining its terms.’
    • ‘Inflation and tax will eat into the value of any savings, and a poor interest rate will only compound this.’
    • ‘The nighttime pilot must deal with all the visual challenges common in daylight, compounded with a whole new set of challenges resulting from darkness.’
    • ‘Little or no analysis is done and poor planning is compounded by even worse implementation strategies.’
    • ‘Thus her social status compounds her gender injustice.’
    • ‘Major problems in agriculture and structural difficulties in the eurozone compounded the negative effects from slower global trade.’
    • ‘The potential problem of reduced access revenue in a more competitive environment is compounded by the negative outlook for media and advertising services revenue.’
    • ‘Sometimes stresses outside the gym compound the situation.’
    • ‘The lack of sanitation facilities compounds the trauma of displacement and loss.’
    • ‘His uncouth son who shows no respect to his illiterate father compounds the dilemma.’
    • ‘Adolescents seek to relieve tension through risk behaviors such as substance use that only compound the negative psychological and physical toll.’
    • ‘It compounds the potential inarticulateness of boys.’
    • ‘Some horse owners actually compound the negative effects by adding corn oil to the horse's diet thinking that it offers a beneficial source of energy.’
    • ‘It simply compounds the strategic errors at the very top of the party.’
    aggravate, worsen, make worse, add to, augment, exacerbate, intensify, heighten, increase, magnify
    View synonyms
  • 3Law
    Forbear from prosecuting (a felony) in exchange for money or other consideration.

    • ‘Since the effect of compounding an offence is that of acquittal, the perpetrators would also know that they cannot be tried again for the same offence.’
    1. 3.1 Settle (a debt or other matter) in exchange for money or other consideration.
      ‘he compounded the case with the defendant for a cash payment’

Origin

Late Middle English compoune (verb), from Old French compoun-, present tense stem of compondre, from Latin componere ‘put together’. The final -d was added in the 16th century on the pattern of expound and propound. compound (sense 2 of the verb) arose through a misinterpretation of the legal phrase compound a felony, which means ‘refrain from prosecuting a felony in exchange for money or other consideration’. This led to the use of compound in legal contexts to mean ‘make something bad worse’, which then became accepted in general usage.

Pronunciation

compound

/ˈkɒmpaʊnd/

Main definitions of compound in English

: compound1compound2

compound2

noun

  • 1An open area enclosed by a fence, for example around a factory or large house or within a prison.

    • ‘These four temples have a meditation hall and a major monks' training center within the same compound.’
    • ‘The 29 broke into the school premises Wednesday through a hole cut in a wire fence surrounding the compound.’
    • ‘American diplomatic staff took refuge in a safe area within the compound.’
    • ‘Within an enclosed compound, you discover a pristine, high-ceilinged exhibition space that occupies a renovated factory building.’
    • ‘Within seconds the compound was swarming with scientists, examining every room in the place.’
    • ‘At present an average 220 monks and novices live within the temple compound.’
    • ‘Once within your compound's adobe walls you never really need to re-emerge.’
    • ‘Whoever had been seeking refuge within the compound's razor-wire-topped walls had been forced to leave in a hurry.’
    • ‘The 11 men, 15 women and three children entered the school premises through a hole cut in a wire fence surrounding the school compound.’
    • ‘The villages are rather compact, consisting of groups of compounds enclosed by millet-stalk fences.’
    • ‘People are free to meditate anywhere within the compound.’
    • ‘Within the compound, the officials were able to protect some of the rare trees and other plant species.’
    • ‘Low coral walls fence their homes but please ask permission before photographing families at home within these compounds.’
    • ‘The arrangement of space is quite unique in that the longtang houses are built on a street but are divided into sub-lanes within the compound.’
    • ‘Sensitive areas within compounds have also been given extra protection while electronic scanning of staff, visitors and vehicles entering sites has been stepped up.’
    • ‘The temple compound is an example of a traditional temple.’
    • ‘If the elites continue to ignore the hard realities faced by a growing majority of us, they'll need to build mighty high fences around their own compounds.’
    • ‘The enclosures were located within a compound covered with plastic mesh to exclude large predators.’
    • ‘The bomb was believed to have been planted in a minibus parked outside the walled embassy compound and detonated remotely.’
    • ‘Classes of school children assembled in front of the embassy and attached telegrams of condolence to the fence that surrounds the compound.’
    1. 1.1South African An area containing single-sex living quarters for migrant workers, especially miners.
      • ‘The display also contrasts the living conditions in a mine compound with a mine manager or randlord's house.’
      • ‘The NUM is claiming more housing allowance for workers who don't live at the mine compound and better living conditions for those that do.’
      • ‘This position enables him to work as the only handyman in the compound.’
      • ‘Both diamond and gold mines housed black workers in single-sex compounds, issuing contracts of limited duration.’
      • ‘In the 1910s and 1920s, most of the 200,000 African men employed in gold-mining lived in vast single-sex compounds.’
    2. 1.2
      another term for pound

Origin

Late 17th century (referring to such an area in SE Asia): from Portuguese campon or Dutch kampoeng, from Malay kampong ‘enclosure, hamlet’; compare with kampong.

Pronunciation

compound

/ˈkɒmpaʊnd/