What does compass mean?
Definitions for compass
This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word compass.
navigational instrument for finding directions
scope, range, reach, orbit, compass, ambitnoun
an area in which something acts or operates or has power or control: "the range of a supersonic jet"
"a piano has a greater range than the human voice"; "the ambit of municipal legislation"; "within the compass of this article"; "within the scope of an investigation"; "outside the reach of the law"; "in the political orbit of a world power"
compass, range, reach, graspnoun
the limit of capability
"within the compass of education"
drafting instrument used for drawing circles
bring about; accomplish
"This writer attempts more than his talents can compass"
travel around, either by plane or ship
"We compassed the earth"
grok, get the picture, comprehend, savvy, dig, grasp, compass, apprehendverb
get the meaning of something
"Do you comprehend the meaning of this letter?"
A magnetic or electronic device used to determine the cardinal directions (usually magnetic or true north).
A pair of compasses (a device used to draw an arc or circle).
The range of notes of a musical instrument or voice.
A space within limits; area.
To surround; to encircle; to environ; to stretch round.
To go about or round entirely; to traverse.
To accomplish; to reach; to achieve; to obtain.
To plot; to scheme (against someone).
In a circuit; round about.
Etymology: For noun: from compas, from compas, from compassus, from com- + passus; see pass, pace.
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
Etymology: from the verb.
This day I breathed first; time is come round;
And where I did begin, there shall I end:
My life is run its compass. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.
O, Juliet, I already know thy grief;
It strains me past the compass of my wits. William Shakespeare.
That which is out of the compass of any man’s power, is to that man impossible. Robert South, Sermons.
How few there are may be justly bewailed, the compass of them extending but from the time of Hippocrates to that of Marcus Antoninus. William Temple.
Animals in their generation are wiser than the sons of men; but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars; and lies in a very narrow compass. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 120.
This author hath tried the force and compass of our language with much success. Jonathan Swift.
No less than the compass of twelve books is taken up in these. Alexander Pope, Essay on Homer’s Battles.
The English are good confederates in an enterprize which may be dispatched in a short compass of time. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.
You have heard what hath been here done for the poor by the five hospitals and the workhouse, within the compass of one year, and towards the end of a long, expensive war. Francis Atterbury.
And their mount Palatine,
Th’ imperial palace, compass huge, and high
The structure. John Milton, Paradise Regained, b. iv. l. 50.
Old Rome from such a race deriv’d her birth,
Which now on sev’n high hills triumphant reigns,
And in that compass all the world contains. John Dryden, Virg Geor.
Certain it is, that in two hundred years before (I speak within compass ) no such commission had been executed in either of these provinces. John Davies, on Ireland.
Nothing is likelier to keep a man within compass than the having constantly before his eyes the state of his affairs, in a regular course of account. John Locke.
You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony,
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man. Dryden.
If they be two, they are two so,
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixt foot, makes no show
To move; but doth, if th’ other do. John Donne.
In his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepar’d
In God’s eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things. John Milton, Parad Lost.
To fix one foot of their compass wherever they think fit, and extend the other to such terrible lengths, without describing any circumference at all, is to leave us and themselves in a very uncertain state. Jonathan Swift, on Dissentions in Athens and Rome.
The breath of religion fills the sails, profit is the compass by which factious men steer their course. Charles I .
Rude as their ships was navigation then;
No useful compass or meridian known:
Coasting, they kept the land within their ken,
And knew no North but when the pole-star shone. Dryden.
With equal force the tempest blows by turns,
From ev’ry corner of the seamen’s compass. Nicholas Rowe, J. Shore.
He that first discovered the use of the compass, did more for the supplying and increase of useful commodities than those who built workhouses. John Locke.
Etymology: compasser, Fr. compassare, Ital. passibus metiri, Latin.
A darksome way,
That deep descended through the hollow ground,
And was with dread and horrour compassed around. Fairy Q.
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom’s peers,
That speak my salutation in their minds. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.
Now all the blessings
Of a glad father compass thee about! William Shakespeare, Tempest.
The shady trees cover him with their shadow: the willows of the brook compass him about. Job, xl. 22.
Observe the crowds that compass him around. John Dryden, Virg.
To dare that death, I will approach yet nigher;
Thus, wert thou compassed with circling fire. Dryden.
Old Chorineus compass’d thrice the crew,
And dipp’d an olive-branch in holy dew,
Which thrice he sprinkl’d round. John Dryden, Æn.
Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side. Luke, xix. 43.
That which by wisdom he saw to be requisite for that people, was by as great wisdom compassed. Richard Hooker, Preface.
His master being one of great regard,
In court to compass any suit not hard. Hubbard’s Tale.
If I can check my erring love, I will;
If not, to compass her I’ll use my skill. William Shakespeare.
How can you hope to compass your designs,
And not dissemble them? John Denham, Sophy.
The knowledge of what is good and what is evil, what ought and what ought not to be done, is a thing too large to be compassed, and too hard to be mastered, without brains and study, parts and contemplation. South.
He had a mind to make himself master of Weymouth, if he could compass it without engaging his army before it. Edward Hyde.
The church of Rome createth titular patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria; so loth is the pope to lose the remembrance of any title that he hath once compassed. Edward Brerewood.
Invention is the first part, and absolutely necessary to them both; yet no rule ever was, or ever can be given, how to compass it. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.
In ev’ry work regard the writer’s end,
Since none can compass more than they intend. Alexander Pope.
A compass is a device that shows the cardinal directions used for navigation and geographic orientation. It commonly consists of a magnetized needle or other element, such as a compass card or compass rose, which can pivot to align itself with magnetic north. Other methods may be used, including gyroscopes, magnetometers, and GPS receivers. Compasses often show angles in degrees: north corresponds to 0°, and the angles increase clockwise, so east is 90°, south is 180°, and west is 270°. These numbers allow the compass to show azimuths or bearings which are commonly stated in degrees. If local variation between magnetic north and true north is known, then direction of magnetic north also gives direction of true north. Among the Four Great Inventions, the magnetic compass was first invented as a device for divination as early as the Chinese Han Dynasty (since c. 206 BC), and later adopted for navigation by the Song Dynasty Chinese during the 11th century. The first usage of a compass recorded in Western Europe and the Islamic world occurred around 1190.
a passing round; circuit; circuitous course
an inclosing limit; boundary; circumference; as, within the compass of an encircling wall
an inclosed space; an area; extent
extent; reach; sweep; capacity; sphere; as, the compass of his eye; the compass of imagination
moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; -- used with within
the range of notes, or tones, within the capacity of a voice or instrument
an instrument for determining directions upon the earth's surface by means of a magnetized bar or needle turning freely upon a pivot and pointing in a northerly and southerly direction
a pair of compasses
a circle; a continent
to go about or entirely round; to make the circuit of
to inclose on all sides; to surround; to encircle; to environ; to invest; to besiege; -- used with about, round, around, and round about
to reach round; to circumvent; to get within one's power; to obtain; to accomplish
to curve; to bend into a circular form
to purpose; to intend; to imagine; to plot
Etymology: [F. compasser, LL. compassare.]
A compass is a navigational instrument that shows directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth. The frame of reference defines the four cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west. Intermediate directions are also defined. Usually, a diagram called a compass rose, which shows the directions, is marked on the compass. When the compass is in use, the rose is aligned with the real directions in the frame of reference, so, for example, the "N" mark on the rose really points to the north. Frequently, in addition to the rose or sometimes instead of it, angle markings in degrees are shown on the compass. North corresponds to zero degrees, and the angles increase clockwise, so east is 90 degrees, south is 180, and west is 270. These numbers allow the compass to show azimuths or bearings, which are commonly stated in this notation. The magnetic compass was first invented as a device for divination as early as the Chinese Han Dynasty. The compass was used in Song Dynasty China by the military for navigational orienteering by 1040-1044, and was used for maritime navigation by 1111 to 1117. The use of a compass is recorded in Western Europe between 1187 and 1202, and in Persia in 1232. The dry compass was invented in Europe around 1300. This was supplanted in the early 20th century by the liquid-filled magnetic compass.
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
kum′pas, n. a circuit or circle: space: limit: range, a limit of tones of a voice or instrument: the circumference: girth: an instrument consisting of a magnetised needle, used to steer ships by, &c., the needle indicating on a card the absolute directions at any given time: (pl.) an instrument consisting of two movable legs, for describing circles, &c.—v.t. to pass or go round: to surround or enclose: to besiege: to bring about or obtain: to contrive or plot: to accomplish.—adj. Com′passable, capable of being compassed.—ns. Com′pass-card, the circular card of a compass; Com′passing, contrivance: design; Com′pass-plane, a plane, convex on the under side, for smoothing curved timber; Com′pass-saw, a saw that cuts in a circular manner; Com′pass-sig′nal, a signal denoting a point in the compass; Com′pass-tim′ber, curved timber, used for shipbuilding, &c.; Com′pass-win′dow, a semicircular bay-window.—Box the compass (see Box); Fetch a compass, to go round in a circuit. [Fr. compas, a circle, prob. from Low L. compassus—L. com, together, passus, a step.]
The Standard Electrical Dictionary
An apparatus for utilizing the directive force of the earth upon the magnetic needle. It consists of a circular case, within which is poised a magnetized bar of steel. This points approximately to the north, and is used on ships and elsewhere to constantly show the direction of the magnetic meridian. Two general types are used. In one the needle is mounted above a fixed "card" or dial, on which degrees or points of the compass, q. v., are inscribed. In the other the card is attached to the needle and rotates with it. The latter represents especially the type known as the mariner's compass. (See Compass, Mariner's--Compass, Spirit, and other titles under compass, also Magnetic Axis--Magnetic Elements.) The needle in good compasses carries for a bearing at its centre, a little agate cup, and a sharp brass pin is the point of support.
Dictionary of Nautical Terms
An instrument employed by navigators to guide the ship's course at sea. It consists of a circular box, containing a fly or paper card, which represents the horizon, and is suspended by two concentric rings called gimbals. The fly is divided into thirty-two equal parts, by lines drawn from the centre to the circumference, called points or rhumbs; the interval between the points is subdivided into 360 degrees--consequently, the distance or angle comprehended between any two rhumbs is equal to 11 degrees and 15 minutes. The four cardinal points lie opposite to each other; the north and south points form top and bottom, leaving the east on the right hand, and the west on the left; the names of all the inferior points are compounded of these according to their situation. This card is attached to a magnetic needle, which, carrying the card round with it, points north, excepting for the local annual variation and the deviation caused by the iron in the ship; the angle which the course makes with that meridian is shown by the lubber's point, a dark line inside the box. (See ADJUSTMENT OF THE COMPASS.)
A type of device or instrument.
Compass are used throughout the world in navigational equipment.
Submitted by MaryC on March 15, 2020
Song lyrics by compass -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by compass on the Lyrics.com website.
Surnames Frequency by Census Records
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Compass is ranked #133863 in terms of the most common surnames in America.
The Compass surname appeared 126 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Compass.
55.5% or 70 total occurrences were Black.
23.8% or 30 total occurrences were White.
8.7% or 11 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
7.9% or 10 total occurrences were Asian.
3.9% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.
The numerical value of compass in Chaldean Numerology is: 2
The numerical value of compass in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5
Examples of compass in a Sentence
Drugs and alcohol are not the problems, they’re merely symptoms of the problem. And once those things go away, the real work begins, you know … working on all the character defects, the moral compass — the skewed moral compass.
The Archbishop was the moral compass of the country if you like.
A man without religion or spiritual vision is like a captain who finds himself in the midst of an uncharted sea, without compass, rudder and steering wheel. He never knows where he is, which way he is going and where he is going to land.
Animals, in their generation, are wiser than the sons of men but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass.
Intuition is like a compass that guides your decision-making process when answers are not readily available.
Popularity rank by frequency of use
Translations for compass
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
- حك, بوصلة, برجلArabic
- заобикалям, област, постигам, обхват, компасBulgarian
- àrea, brúixola, àmbitCatalan, Valencian
- buzola, kompasCzech
- Seekompass, Umfang, Kompass, UmkreisGerman
- φάσμα, διαπασών, πυξίδαGreek
- ámbito, área, brújula, alcanceSpanish
- ala, kompassi, ääniala, alueFinnish
- portée, étendue, boussoleFrench
- kompasWestern Frisian
- combaist, cairt-iùilScottish Gaelic
- क़ुतुबनुमा, कम्पासHindi
- áttaviti, kompásIcelandic
- コンパス, 羅針盤, 方位磁石Japanese
- საზღვაო კომპასი, კომპასიGeorgian
- 나침반, 羅針盤Korean
- ambitus, circuitisLatin
- kompas, pedomanMalay
- ကွန်ပါ, အိမ်မြှောင်Burmese
- omzwerven, kompas, doorkruisen, samenzweren, beslaan, omvang, bereik, omvatten, bereikenDutch
- ଦିଗନିର୍ଣ୍ଣୟକ ଯନ୍ତ୍ରOriya
- ਕੰਪਾਸPanjabi, Punjabi
- قطب نماPashto, Pushto
- âmbito, área, limite, bússola, alcancePortuguese
- compas, diapazon, busolăRomanian
- буссоль, круг, диапазон, окружность, окружать, объём, компасRussian
- kompas, компасSerbo-Croatian
- මාලිමාවSinhala, Sinhalese
- diyapazon, pusula, tınlaçTurkish
- كومپاسUyghur, Uighur
- бусоля, компасUkrainian
- قطب نماUrdu
- la bànVietnamese
- kompad, melakompad, kopadVolapük
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