What does compose mean?

Definitions for compose

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word compose.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. composeverb

    form the substance of

    "Greed and ambition composed his personality"

  2. compose, writeverb

    write music

    "Beethoven composed nine symphonies"

  3. write, compose, pen, inditeverb

    produce a literary work

    "She composed a poem"; "He wrote four novels"

  4. compose, compileverb

    put together out of existing material

    "compile a list"

  5. composeverb

    calm (someone, especially oneself); make quiet

    "She had to compose herself before she could reply to this terrible insult"

  6. frame, compose, draw upverb

    make up plans or basic details for

    "frame a policy"


  1. composeverb

    To make something by merging parts.

  2. composeverb

    To make up the whole; to constitute.

  3. composeverb

    To comprise.

  4. composeverb

    To construct by mental labor; to think up; particularly, to produce or create a literary or musical work.

  5. composeverb

    To calm oneself down.

    The defendant couldn't compose herself and was found in contempt.

  6. composeverb

    To arrange the elements of a photograph or other picture.

  7. composeverb

    To settle (an argument, dispute etc.); to come to a settlement.

  8. Etymology: From composer, from componere, from com- + ponere

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To COMPOSEverb

    Etymology: composer, Fr. compono, Latin.

    Zeal ought to be composed of the highest degrees of all pious affections. Thomas Sprat.

    In a peaceful grave my corps compose. John Dryden, Æn.

    The whole army seemed well composed to obtain that by their swords, which they could not by their pen. Edward Hyde, b. viii.

    Words so pleasing to God, as those which the son of God himself hath composed, were not possible for men to frame. Richard Hooker, b. v. sect. 35.

    Nor did Israel ’scape
    Th’ infection, when their borrow’d gold compos’d
    The calf in Oreb. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. i. l. 483.

    A few useful things, confounded with many trifles, fill their memories, and compose their intellectual possessions. Isaac Watts.

    He would undertake the journey with him, by which all his fears would be composed. Edward Hyde, b. viii.

    You, that had taught them to subdue their foes,
    Cou’d order teach, and their high sp’rits compose. Edmund Waller.

    Compose thy mind;
    Nor frauds are here contriv’d, nor force design’d. Dryden.

    He, having a full sway and command over the water, had power to still and compose it, as well as to move and disturb it. John Woodward, Natural History, p. iii.

    Yet to compose this midnight noise,
    Go, freely search where-e’er you please. Matthew Prior.

    The mind being thus disquieted, may not be able easily to compose and settle itself to prayer. Brian Duppa, Rules for Devotion.

    We beseech thee to compose her thoughts, and preserve her reason, during her sickness. Jonathan Swift.


  1. compose

    Compose primarily means to create or put together something by combining various elements or ingredients. In music, it refers to creating a piece of music; in writing, it means creating a piece of literature; and in mathematics, it refers to combining functions.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Composeverb

    to form by putting together two or more things or parts; to put together; to make up; to fashion

  2. Composeverb

    to form the substance of, or part of the substance of; to constitute

  3. Composeverb

    to construct by mental labor; to design and execute, or put together, in a manner involving the adaptation of forms of expression to ideas, or to the laws of harmony or proportion; as, to compose a sentence, a sermon, a symphony, or a picture

  4. Composeverb

    to dispose in proper form; to reduce to order; to put in proper state or condition; to adjust; to regulate

  5. Composeverb

    to free from agitation or disturbance; to tranquilize; to soothe; to calm; to quiet

  6. Composeverb

    to arrange (types) in a composing stick in order for printing; to set (type)

  7. Composeverb

    to come to terms

  8. Etymology: [F. composer; com- + poser to place. The sense is that of L. componere, but the origin is different. See Pose, v. t.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Compose

    kom-pōz′, v.t. to form by putting two or more parts or things together: to place in proper order, to put together, to arrange artistically the elements of a landscape for painting: to settle or set at rest: to soothe: to set up or place types in order for printing: to originate or write as author, to set to music.—p.adj. Composed′, settled, quiet, calm.—adv. Compos′edly.—ns. Compos′edness; Compos′er, a writer, an author, esp. of a piece of music.—adj. Com′posite, made up of two or more distinct parts: (archit.) a blending of the Ionic and the Corinthian orders: (bot.) belonging to the natural order Compositæ, having compound or composite flowers—heads of flowers composed of a number of florets on a common receptacle, surrounded by bracts forming a leafy involucre, like single flowers.—adv. Com′positely.—ns. Com′positeness; Compos′ing-stick, an instrument with a sliding adjustment, used for holding printing-types before they are put on the galley; Compos′ition, the act of putting together, or that which is put together: the thing composed, as a work in literature, music, or painting: mental constitution: artistic manner, style in writing or painting: a coming together or agreement, an arrangement or compromise: a certain percentage which creditors agree to accept in lieu of the full payment of a bankrupt's debts: (mech.) the compounding of two velocities or forces into a single velocity or force which shall be their equivalent.—adj. Compos′itive.—ns. Compos′itor, one who puts together, or sets up, types for printing; Com′post, Compost′ure (Shak.) a mixture for manure: a kind of plaster; Compō′sure, calmness: self-possession: tranquillity.—Composite candle, one made of a mixture of stearic acid and the stearin of coco-nut oil; Composite carriage, a railway-carriage with compartments of different classes; Composite portrait, a single portrait produced by combining those of a number of persons; Composition of a felony, the act of abstaining from prosecution for some consideration—itself punishable by fine and imprisonment. [Fr. composer, from L. cum, and pausāre, to cease, to rest.]

Editors Contribution

  1. compose

    To create.

    He did compose music and was very grateful for that ability.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 14, 2020  

  2. compose

    To form matter.

    The teeth are composed of enamel.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 14, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'compose' in Verbs Frequency: #640

How to pronounce compose?

How to say compose in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of compose in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of compose in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of compose in a Sentence

  1. Giuseppe Mazzini:

    The theory of rights enables us to rise and overthrow obstacles, but not to found a strong and lasting accord between all the elements which compose the nation.

  2. John Dingell:

    One of the advantages to knowing that your demise is imminent, and that reports of it will not be greatly exaggerated, is that you have a few moments to compose some parting thoughts, in our modern political age, the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition.

  3. Amanda Gorman:

    We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man, and so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

  4. R.L. Giles:

    In parting, Compose a beautiful goodbye And the bliss will live on in memories symphony.

  5. Joaquin Quinonero Candela:

    It’s somewhere in some photo [collection] a friend of mine took but in a few years I will have forgotten who took it, we’re doing research on cracking the image open and understanding it at the individual pixel level. This is called image segmentation. We’re building the ability to understand the individual objects that compose an image.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for compose

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • مؤلف موسيقىArabic
  • образувам, успокоявам, съставям, съставям се от, съчинявам, творя, композирамBulgarian
  • složitCzech
  • bilden, umfasst, abfassen, enthalten, fassen, zusammensetzen, zusammenstellen, einschliessen, verfassen, komponieren, beruhigenGerman
  • ηρεμώ, συμπεριλαμβάνω, απαρτίζω, περιέχω, συνθέτω, συνέρχομαι, περιλαμβάνωGreek
  • componerSpanish
  • sisaldama, rahunema, koostama, looma, moodustamaEstonian
  • rauhoittua, koota, sommitella, käsittää, muodostaa, luoda, koostaa, säveltääFinnish
  • composerFrench
  • cumIrish
  • הלחין, חיברHebrew
  • vormen, omvatten, redigeren, samenstellen, bedaren, componeren, composerenDutch
  • compor, constituir, recompor-se, montarPortuguese
  • compuneRomanian
  • собираться, составлять, собирать, собраться, составить, писать, состоять, сочинять, сочинить, написать, собратьRussian
  • komponeraSwedish
  • bumuoTagalog
  • soạn thảo, soạn, biên soạnVietnamese
  • 撰写Chinese

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"compose." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 3 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/compose>.

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    the region of the body of a vertebrate between the thorax and the pelvis
    • A. mediocrity
    • B. equity
    • C. accessory
    • D. abdomen

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