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

adjective

  • 1Made up or consisting of two or more existing parts or elements.

    ‘a compound noun’
    • ‘The compound term bloc-notes is an old one, whose meaning strikes me as rather inappropriate as a basis for extension to blogging.’
    • ‘So in this pundit's view, the spelling determines compound status and thus the plural.’
    • ‘The new company about to be born will have a compound name.’
    • ‘When you have two different elements, there are usually only two words in the compound name.’
    • ‘He did so by combining two complex ideas - or at least two abstract compound nouns - in a new way.’
    • ‘That is, they cannot be used in isolation but must occur either as part of a compound word or with a possessive prefix.’
    • ‘Too bad we can't hear the pronunciation: does any gate also have compound pronunciation, like anyway?’
    • ‘I was about to take my colleague to task for failing to hyphenate ‘best known’ when using it as a compound adjective.’
    • ‘The compound nouns are chasing the adverbs out of the language.’
    composite, complex
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of interest) payable on both capital and the accumulated interest.
      ‘compound interest’
      Compare with simple
      • ‘The bank rate, which garners much attention as an indicator of the health and direction of the economy, is a compound interest rate.’
      • ‘The effect of compound interest, Einstein's ‘eighth wonder of the world’, can also be seen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The current three-year issue pays a compound interest rate of 1.05 % over inflation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because ultimately, you know, the miracle of compound interest becomes a nightmare.’
      • ‘And why not take advantage of compound interest while you're at it?’
      • ‘The current three-year issue pays a compound interest rate of 1.05% over inflation.’
      • ‘Effectively, their Lordships' decision enables banks to charge compound interest even at the penalty rate chargeable upon the customer's default.’
      • ‘Thanks to the power of compound interest, the longer that you invest, the greater your gain.’
      • ‘This highlights the very significant role played by compound rates of interest.’
      • ‘Under private accounts, saving at younger ages counts more than saving at older ages because early savings have more years to accumulate compound interest.’
      • ‘After all, it's silly to spend $300 billion today when, after compound interest, it will be worth $500 billion in a few decades.’
      • ‘So should we all assume a lower growth rate when playing with our compound interest calculators?’
      • ‘This is where compound interest calculators can be so useful, provided you don't get carried away with outlandish annual growth rates.’
      • ‘As simplistic as this may sound, she instinctively understands the power of compound interest.’
      • ‘Given the power of compound interest and plenty of patience, even people on a modest income can become much richer.’
      • ‘One easy way to use interest to your advantage is to understand and apply the magic 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.’
    2. 1.2Biology (especially of a leaf, flower, or eye) consisting of two or more simple parts or individuals in combination.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The female reproductive structures of flowers are the carpels, which are either free, or are fused to form a compound ovary.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Make up (a composite whole); constitute.

    ‘a dialect compounded of Spanish and Dutch’
    • ‘All propositions are simple or compounded of simples.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That illusion, like the touching belief that one party is always better than the other, is compounded of near-equal parts naiveté and cynicism.’
    • ‘This is effectively a pot of stew originally compounded of cheap cuts of mutton, potatoes, and onions.’
    • ‘We can see wave movements not just compounded of different qualities but compounded of different, even noncontiguous, spaces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The renouncers' attitude was compounded of dark bitterness and bright hope.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘His style was compounded of elements drawn from Titian, Dürer, and Parmigianino, whose prints he copied.’
    be composed of, be made up of, be constituted of, be formed from
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Mix or combine (ingredients or constituents)
      ‘yellow pastas compounded with lemon zest or saffron’
      • ‘We compound various strengths and combinations of thyroid hormone.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We compounded the mixture of the medicinal herbs according to the season and the patient's condition.’
      • ‘The pharmacist then compounds the necessary ingredients and dispenses the medication to the patient.’
      • ‘When we compound prescriptions, we mix ingredients specific to each patient's needs.’
      mix, combine, blend, put together, amalgamate, alloy, fuse, synthesize, coalesce, mingle, meld, intermingle
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Calculate (interest) on previously accumulated interest.
      ‘the yield at which the interest is compounded’
      • ‘Interest was to be compounded in accordance with the bank's current practice from time to time.’
      • ‘The AER shows what the notional interest rate would be if the interest was compounded and paid once a year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I-Bonds deliver a guaranteed rate of interest above the inflation rate and the interest they earn is compounded semiannually.’
      • ‘While I'm puttering around playing with words, other people are investing and accumulating and feathering their nests and compounding their interest.’
      • ‘He further concluded that interest could continue to be compounded even after a bank had demanded repayment or called up the loan.’
      • ‘Contract law principles may require such interest to be compounded so as to award the plaintiff the benefit of the bargain.’
      • ‘Compounded annually, that growth rate is dramatic.’
      • ‘Interest on these bonds is accumulated monthly and compounded every six months.’
      • ‘Each thread compounds interest on half the loans in a database.’
  • 2Make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of.

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

Usage

The sense of the verb compound that means ‘worsen,’ as in this compounds their problems, has an interesting history. It arose through a misinterpretation of the phrase compound a felony, which, strictly speaking, means ‘forbear from prosecuting a felony in exchange for money or other consideration.’ The ‘incorrect’ sense has become the usual one in legal uses and, by extension, in general senses too, and is now accepted as part of standard English

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

/ˈkämˌpound//ˈkɑmˌpaʊnd/

Main definitions of compound in English

: compound1compound2

compound2

noun

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

    • ‘Classes of school children assembled in front of the embassy and attached telegrams of condolence to the fence that surrounds the compound.’
    • ‘Within the compound, the officials were able to protect some of the rare trees and other plant species.’
    • ‘The villages are rather compact, consisting of groups of compounds enclosed by millet-stalk fences.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Within an enclosed compound, you discover a pristine, high-ceilinged exhibition space that occupies a renovated factory building.’
    • ‘The 29 broke into the school premises Wednesday through a hole cut in a wire fence surrounding the compound.’
    • ‘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 enclosures were located within a compound covered with plastic mesh to exclude large predators.’
    • ‘Low coral walls fence their homes but please ask permission before photographing families at home within these compounds.’
    • ‘Sensitive areas within compounds have also been given extra protection while electronic scanning of staff, visitors and vehicles entering sites has been stepped up.’
    • ‘People are free to meditate anywhere within the compound.’
    • ‘These four temples have a meditation hall and a major monks' training center within the same compound.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bomb was believed to have been planted in a minibus parked outside the walled embassy compound and detonated remotely.’
    • ‘At present an average 220 monks and novices live within the temple compound.’
    • ‘Within seconds the compound was swarming with scientists, examining every room in the place.’
    • ‘The temple compound is an example of a traditional temple.’
    • ‘Once within your compound's adobe walls you never really need to re-emerge.’
    • ‘American diplomatic staff took refuge in a safe area within the compound.’
    • ‘Whoever had been seeking refuge within the compound's razor-wire-topped walls had been forced to leave in a hurry.’

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

/ˈkämˌpound//ˈkɑmˌpaʊnd/