Definition of compartment in English:



  • 1A separate section of a structure or container in which certain items can be kept separate from others.

    ‘there's some ice cream in the freezer compartment’
    • ‘Use the local fishmonger instead of buying fish fingers from the freezer compartment.’
    • ‘I only discovered our fridge had a freezer compartment 6 weeks ago.’
    • ‘Everyday tasks such as going to the supermarket are tough when you can't reach the shelves or peer into the freezer compartments.’
    • ‘Delivery vans are equipped with fridge and freezer compartments in order to ensure goods arrive in perfect condition.’
    • ‘Each of the three compartments inside contains a muddle of cheap plastic widgets.’
    • ‘Indeed, imagine a box divided by a partition into two compartments.’
    • ‘I appreciated the small compartments as a business traveler.’
    • ‘Veréd Cosmetiqué's bronzing powder is encased in a beautiful silver compact with a mirror and separate compartment for the brush applicator.’
    • ‘There should be compartments and pockets and pouches to hold stuff like your coins, keys and cell phone’
    • ‘It has a deluxe extendable handle that locks into place, as well as a separate shoe compartment and six large accessory pockets.’
    • ‘A container with no set compartments or shelves can be modified and improved.’
    • ‘Similar to an airplane meal in presentation, the food is served in various compartments of a square container that can be used for everything from a takeout lunch to a well-balanced supper.’
    • ‘On that occasion, the group had braved freezing conditions crammed under a carriage in a compartment designed for luggage or freight.’
    • ‘He found a large plastic container in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator containing what appeared to be frozen soup.’
    • ‘There's also a separate shoe compartment with locking zippers.’
    • ‘Lunchtime would see meals served in pressed metal trays with different compartments where the railway catering staff has placed the rice, curd, vegetables, and a curl of pickle with a pinch of salt.’
    • ‘It also features a separate shoe compartment to store and protect shoes up to size U.S. men's 13.’
    • ‘More smoke sensors will be installed and internal walls will be extended upwards into the roof void to create compartments to help to contain the spread of any future fire.’
    • ‘The lower section even contains a compartment offering an additional five litres of storage space.’
    • ‘These may be as simple as a moveable bin formed by wire mesh or a more substantial structure consisting of several compartments.’
    section, part, partition, bay, recess, chamber, cavity, niche, nook, hollow
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A division of a railroad car marked by partitions.
      ‘a first-class compartment’
      • ‘We reserved 6 reclining seats - 3 and 3 facing each other in a closed compartment.’
      • ‘However, there are also trains with first class compartments and air conditioning, which are clean, comfortable, and cost about the same price as taking a plane for the same distance.’
      • ‘Chuckling, the gentleman opened the door leading from the reserved coach to the sleeping compartments beyond.’
      • ‘The teak-bodied carriage has two first-class compartments - one for smokers and the other for non-smokers - and two toilets.’
      • ‘For the time being, home was a railway compartment with a very hard bunk, in a train which made many inexplicable stops.’
      • ‘In sleeping carriages as well as in trains with only one carriage, smoking compartments must be designated.’
      • ‘The next thing she knew, she was lying on the floor of the first-class compartment being worked on by two doctors.’
      • ‘I forgot to mention that the PA system in our compartment doesn't work.’
      • ‘As the railway compartment became a popular venue for fictional mayhem when crime fiction flowered from the later Victorian years almost all cases involved men attacking men.’
      • ‘As for ringing ahead to my parents waiting to pick me up, I ensure that I leave the carriage compartment when I ring them.’
      • ‘At workplaces, bus-stations and inside railway compartments, the blabber is scarcely about anything but cricket.’
      • ‘Vronsky noticed the charming woman as he made his way to the first-class compartment that he shared with his mother.’
      • ‘Since our compartment was at the downstairs rear of the last car on the train, we were last for dinner reservations call.’
      • ‘Tickets cost 22 leva an adult for first class compartments.’
      • ‘That sound was probably just part of the brakes, and I now see that a freight train is passing us on the right (our compartment is on the left).’
      • ‘The sequence built around the delivery of a child in a railway compartment is movingly handled.’
      • ‘The carriage which included the two compartments in question was uncoupled and side-tracked.’
      • ‘I don't know why but it was not blacked out so you could see in the compartment.’
      • ‘He was, moreover, renowned for the speed with which he could dash off an article in a railway compartment, a cricket pavilion, or in whatever place he could snatch a few minutes.’
      • ‘On one of the tables in the first class compartments were two empty bottles of champagne.’
    2. 1.2 A watertight section of a ship's hull.
      [as adjective] ‘the aft cargo compartment’
      • ‘To their credit the builders have used bulkheads that are watertight between the hull and cabin soles to divide the boat into three separate compartments.’
      • ‘He turned back to the aft compartment, and then paused.’
      • ‘Passengers will ride in the main compartment aft of the cargo spaces.’
      • ‘Personnel being trapped in refrigerated compartments on-board ships were also reported in 1999 and 2003.’
      • ‘The collision allowed tons of water to flood several compartments in the forward section of the ship, including missile and gun magazines and a junior rates' mess.’
      • ‘The fuselage was of aluminum alloy semi-monocoque construction with passenger, crew, and cargo compartments that were pressurized for high altitude flight.’
      • ‘And there is the intellectual unevenness between the different portions, often sealed off like the compartments in a ship's hold, of each individual's brain and soul.’
      • ‘The other three cargo compartments are below deck.’
      • ‘The thing that has limited our ability to put women to sea has been the time and cost to modify the berthing compartments on existing ships.’
      • ‘All her aft compartments flooded, swiftly sending the boat to the muddy floor of the loch, 55 ft down.’
      • ‘A hiss of steam emitted from the aft compartment and the mechanical whir indicated the descending of the rear ramp.’
      • ‘These involved checking the compartments of his ship and inspecting personnel.’
      • ‘Only when the doors of their compartment on the transport ship closed was she able to relax again.’
      • ‘The ‘ship’ is equipped with a bridge, crew's cabins and engine and lower deck compartments to make the training as authentic as possible.’
      • ‘The impact tore a hole in her hull, flooding several compartments, but she was able to free herself.’
      • ‘The grounding tore a hole in her hull below the waterline, flooding several compartments, but no one was injured.’
      • ‘Armor bulkheads separate the crew compartment from the fuel tanks.’
      • ‘The submarine has two separate pressure hulls with a diameter of 7.2 m each, five inner habitable hulls and 19 compartments.’
      • ‘Additionally an escape hatch in the forward and after compartments of the pressure hull were fitted, an innovation which saved many lives during the war.’
      • ‘There were no stairs to the primary compartments of the ship.’
    3. 1.3 An area in which something can be considered in isolation from other things.
      ‘religion and politics should be kept in different compartments’
      • ‘She worked to the eighth month and it tricked her into thinking she was in control, that she could open and shut the drawers of the different compartments of her life at will.’
      • ‘Inside our head there are various departments, compartments, areas and domains that contain information.’
      • ‘You've got to talk about soccer in two different compartments: in the recreational community end, it actually has continued to grow, indeed prosper, in spite of the poor administration at the top end.’
      domain, field, sphere, realm, area, department, sector, section, division, part
      View synonyms
  • 2Heraldry
    A grassy mound or other support depicted below a shield.


[WITH OBJECT]usually be compartmented
  • Divide (something) into separate parts or sections.

    ‘the buildings are to be compartmented by fire walls’
    • ‘I mentioned the plot was tightly compartmented.’
    • ‘Typical approaches include compartmenting information by functional area (Finance, Engineering, Executive), by business unit, or by customer.’
    • ‘But the truth is that I just don't know how such information would be compartmented.’
    • ‘We could compartment it more and look at the costs and consequences of that.’
    • ‘This is the reality today - people compartmenting risk management and thinking that managing risk incrementally, without the big picture context, is working.’
    • ‘Their work is highly compartmented to a small group of people, probably living in a cave somewhere, and our country doesn't keep secrets very well.’
    • ‘The result, though, was what have come to be called ‘organizational stovepipes’: a tightly compartmented flow of information from the target, through the collection process, through the analyst, to the consumer.’
    • ‘Thus, the capacity of plants to counteract salinity stress may strongly depend on their ability to compartment ions in the vacuole and to minimize ionic changes in the cytosol.’
    • ‘You didn't even need a specially compartmented top-secret clearance to divine what was going on in the case.’
    • ‘The precautions will include fire compartmenting, which is quite expensive and will involve a great deal of work because we will have to build firebreak walls to contain the house in compartments.’


Mid 16th century: from French compartiment, from Italian compartimento, from compartire, from late Latin compartiri divide.