Definition of composition in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkämpəˈziSH(ə)n/


1The nature of something’s ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up: the social composition of villages
More example sentences
  • Though the clothes themselves are ordinary garments, they are by the nature of their composition all individual.
  • In tumors with heterogeneous cellularity, fields were selected to reflect the whole tumor composition.
  • But the exact composition of this mixture varies from person to person, depending on body chemistry and diet.
makeup, constitution, configuration, structure, formation, form, framework, fabric, anatomy, organization
informal setup
1.1The action of putting things together; formation or construction: the composition of a new government was announced
More example sentences
  • The importance of understanding the factors that play a part in EI formation and composition is critical to EI research.
  • Special attention should be paid to the problem of composition of the formations engaged in blockades.
1.2A thing composed of various elements: a theory is a composition of interrelated facts
More example sentences
  • Scientists analyze the minerals and compositions of certain distinctive elements of the dust to identify its origin.
  • For calibration, a series of glass standards was chosen that corresponded closely to the major element compositions of the melt inclusions and matrix glasses.
  • He explained the true nature of man: a composition of elements which arise and then fall away immediately and which are devoid of an abiding substance, of a self.
1.3 archaic Mental constitution; character: persons who have a touch of madness in their composition
More example sentences
  • However, treatment may work differently in children, according to the severity of the trauma, a child's mental composition, and the availability of support.
1.4 [often as modifier] A compound artificial substance, especially one serving the purpose of a natural one: composition flooring
More example sentences
  • Solid vinyl tile is a non-backed product that contains higher levels of vinyl resins, plasticizers and stabilizers than composition tile.
  • In high-traffic areas, Kastner says he uses modular carpet for high-wear areas and vinyl composition tile for corridors with less traffic.
  • So it was soon banned as was hard composition rubber.
mixture, compound, amalgam, blend, mix
1.5 Linguistics The formation of words into a compound word.
Example sentences
  • These include word identification, syntactic parsing, and semantic composition of word meanings.
1.6 Mathematics The successive application of functions to a variable, the value of the first function being the argument of the second, and so on: composition of functions, when defined, is associative
More example sentences
  • He continued to study functional analysis applications to integral equations producing a large number of papers on composition and permutable functions.
  • Let's assume that we have some function which we can choose to write as a composition.
1.7 Physics The process of finding the resultant of a number of forces.
Example sentences
  • Are the laws of acceleration and composition of forces nothing but arbitrary conventions?
  • An important consideration about the composition of forces is that the contribution of the several forces acting cannot be determined from information about the resultant motion.
2A work of music, literature, or art: Chopin’s most romantic compositions
More example sentences
  • There are also educational pieces, numerous compositions of chamber music and two concertos.
  • One rarely associates the term ‘programmatic music’ with the compositions of Johannes Brahms.
  • His compositions comprise mainly chamber music, including string quartets and accompanied keyboard sonatas.
work, work of art, creation, opus, oeuvre, piece, arrangement
2.1The action or art of producing a work of music, literature, or art: the technical aspects of composition
More example sentences
  • Musicians will gain a broad range of skills including technology, performance, composition and music business.
  • I'm deeply concerned with harmony, and yet it is the aspect of composition that is the most predetermined methodically.
  • Experience the process of composition of the art.
writing, creation, formulation, invention, concoction, orchestration
2.2An essay, especially one written by a school or college student.
Example sentences
  • But CStar is not limited to writing compositions for class.
  • The flag was saluted, cheers given for the King and senior classes were given the task of writing a composition on the greatness of the British Empire.
  • Written compositions will show a familiarity with informal, spoken English.
essay, paper, study, piece of writing, theme
2.3The artistic arrangement of the parts of a picture: spoiling the composition of many of the pictures
More example sentences
  • It is what one might expect of an artist experimenting with the composition of a companion picture.
  • Rubens sometimes used monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers.
  • Some of the artists worked out their compositions with small sketches, at other times they would work with a spontaneous intuitive flow, reacting and responding to their evolving composition.
arrangement, disposition, layout;
proportions, balance, symmetry
3The preparing of text for printing by setting up the characters in order. See compose (sense 4).
4A legal agreement to pay an amount of money in lieu of a larger debt or other obligation.
Example sentences
  • His losses were as large as those of his friends, but in a secret composition in 1892 he paid just sixpence in the pound, only to recover so quickly that he was known to be very rich indeed by 1900.
  • Private compositions required the debtor to turn over all their assets, usually less a few exempted items such as bedding, for distribution among creditors.
4.1An amount of money paid under a legal agreement.
Example sentences
  • An acceptance by the holder of the acceptor's offer to pay a composition is not a renunciation of the holder's rights.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin composition-, from componere 'put together'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·po·si·tion

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