- To be made up of; to consist of (especially a comprehensive list of parts).
- The whole comprises the parts.
- The parts are comprised by the whole.
- To include, contain or embrace.
- Our committee comprises a president, secretary, treasurer and five other members.
- (informal, considered incorrect in N America, usually in passive) To compose, to constitute. See usage note below.
- A team is comprised of its members.
- The members comprise the team.
- 1657, Isaac Barrow , Data (Euclid) (translation), Prop. XXX
- "Seeing then the angles comprised of equal right lines are equal, we have found the angle FDE equal to the angle ABC."
- (patents) To include, contain or embrace, but not implying an exhaustive list.
In N American English, the most recent usages, 3 and 4 above, whereby the passive form effectively means “the members comprise the team”, are usually informal and often considered incorrect. By the N American definition, a team comprises its members, whereas the members compose the team. It is not proper in N American English to use comprise in place of compose. With regard to journalistic writing, the Associated Press Stylebook maintains this distinction.
In British English, it is acceptable in both formal and informal speech to use a passive construction with "comprised of", which is synonymous with, but more common than, an active construction with "comprises". For example, "the UK is comprised of four countries" is completely correct, and has the same meaning as the less common possibilities "the UK comprises four countries" and "four countries comprise the UK". Somewhat paradoxically, all three phrases have the same meaning. The use of "of" with an active use of the verb is unequivocally incorrect (thus "the UK comprises of four countries" is incorrect).
According to Webster's Dictionary, the usage dates back to the late 18th century, when it was usually found in technical writing. Webster's indicates that this usage is becoming increasingly common in nontechnical literature, while American Heritage Dictionary and Random House Dictionary state that it is an increasingly frequent and accepted usage.
accouple, accumulate, add, add up to, admit, affect, agglutinate, aggregate, aggregate to, amalgamate, amass, amount to, articulate, assemble, assimilate, associate, assume, band, blend, bond, bracket, bridge, bridge over, bring, call for, cement, chain, clap together, coalesce, collect, combine, come to, come together, complete, compose, compound, comprehend, concatenate, conglobulate, conjoin, conjugate, connect, consolidate, contain, copulate, count in, couple, cover, embed, embody, embrace, encircle, enclose, encompass, enfold, entail, envisage, fill, fill in, fill out, flux, form, fuse, gather, glue, hold, implicate, imply, include, incorporate, integrate, interblend, interfuse, internalize, involve, join, keep within, knot, lay together, lead to, league, link, lump together, make, make one, make up, marry, marshal, mass, meld, melt into one, merge, mix, mobilize, mount up to, number, number among, occupy, pair, piece together, presume, presuppose, put in, put together, receive, reckon among, reckon in, reckon up to, reckon with, reembody, require, roll into one, run into, run to, shade into, solder, solidify, span, splice, stick together, subsume, surround, syncretize, syndicate, synthesize, take, take in, take into account, take into consideration, take up, tape, tie, tot up to, total, tote up to, unify, unite, unitize, weld, yoke
- Comprise in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- Comprise in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- feminine past participle of comprendre
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