There are 2 main definitions of compound in English:

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compound 1

Syllabification: com·pound


Pronunciation: /ˈkämˌpound/
1A thing that is composed of two or more separate elements; a mixture: the air smelled like a compound of diesel and gasoline fumes
More example sentences
  • Now the sophistication of the device has authorities pretty rattled, especially as a unique mixture of explosive compounds was involved.
  • Also, the relative amounts of the different compounds of the mixture tend to be more even, which is reflected in lower dominance values.
  • If the different compounds of a mixture act synergistically, greater toxicity or deterrence may result.
amalgam, amalgamation, combination, composite, blend, mixture, mix, fusion, synthesis;
1.1 (also chemical compound) A substance formed from two or more elements chemically united in fixed proportions: a compound of hydrogen and oxygen
More example sentences
  • The layers of plants and animals slowly broke down into simple substances called hydrocarbons, compounds of hydrogen and carbon.
  • These substances are compounds because the molecules that make it up have two kinds of atoms.
  • Exhaust gases include harmful volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons, chemicals such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.
1.2A word made up of two or more existing words, such as steamship.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Lexicalisation doesn't have to involve making up a new word, it could be a compound, or an existing word could be broadened.
  • Terms like megastore or hypertext are also called compounds, because they are combinations of free-standing words with prefixes or suffixes.


Pronunciation: /ˈkämˌpound/
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1Made up or consisting of several parts or elements, in particular.
Example sentences
  • Our experts are in accord: Nothing builds legs like squats because they're a compound movement that stimulates all major muscles of the legs.
  • The final stained embryos were mounted on slides and examined under a digital compound microscope.
  • Try doing extensions before doing dips or close-grip benches; in this way, you pre-exhaust your tris and focus the compound lifts more on your arms.
1.1(Of a word) made up of two or more existing words or elements: a compound noun
More example sentences
  • 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.
composite, complex;
blended, fused, combined
1.2(Of interest) payable on both capital and the accumulated interest: compound interest Compare with simple.
More example sentences
  • Under private accounts, saving at younger ages counts more than saving at older ages because early savings have more years to accumulate compound interest.
  • The bank rate, which garners much attention as an indicator of the health and direction of the economy, is a compound interest rate.
  • 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.
1.3 Biology (Especially of a leaf, flower, or eye) consisting of two or more simple parts or individuals in combination.
Example sentences
  • 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 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.
  • The female reproductive structures of flowers are the carpels, which are either free, or are fused to form a compound ovary.


Pronunciation: /kəmˈpound/
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1Make up (a composite whole); constitute: a dialect compounded of Spanish and Dutch
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • That illusion, like the touching belief that one party is always better than the other, is compounded of near-equal parts naiveté and cynicism.
  • The renouncers' attitude was compounded of dark bitterness and bright hope.
1.1Mix or combine (ingredients or constituents): yellow pastas compounded with lemon zest or saffron
More example sentences
  • The pharmacist then compounds the necessary ingredients and dispenses the medication to the patient.
  • We compound various strengths and combinations of thyroid hormone.
  • When we compound prescriptions, we mix ingredients specific to each patient's needs.
mix, combine, blend, amalgamate, fuse, synthesize
1.2Calculate (interest) on previously accumulated interest: the yield at which the interest is compounded
More example sentences
  • The AER shows what the notional interest rate would be if the interest was compounded and paid once a year.
  • Interest on these bonds is accumulated monthly and compounded every six months.
  • While I'm puttering around playing with words, other people are investing and accumulating and feathering their nests and compounding their interest.
2Make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of: I compounded the problem by trying to make wrong things right
More example sentences
  • Major problems in agriculture and structural difficulties in the eurozone compounded the negative effects from slower global trade.
  • Little or no analysis is done and poor planning is compounded by even worse implementation strategies.
  • The paper also points out that individual land uses often interact synergistically, compounding their negative effect on habitats and birds.
aggravate, exacerbate, worsen, add to, augment, intensify, heighten, increase, magnify;
3 Law, dated Forbear from prosecuting (a felony) in exchange for money or other consideration.
Example sentences
  • 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.
3.1Settle (a debt or other matter) in exchange for money or other consideration: he compounded the case with the defendant for a cash payment


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.


Pronunciation: /kəmˈpoundəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • In all probability, and in most cases - assuming the offence were to be made compoundable - the husband and the woman's in-laws would offer reconciliation so that the woman withdraws the case.
  • As per the provisions of the law, this is not a compoundable offence and amounts to attempt to murder.
  • Only the compoundable violations could be regularized.


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.

Words that rhyme with compound

abound, aground, around, astound, bound, confound, dumbfound, expound, found, ground, hound, impound, interwound, mound, pound, profound, propound, redound, round, sound, stoneground, surround, theatre-in-the-round (US theater-in-the-round), underground, wound
Definition of compound in:
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There are 2 main definitions of compound in English:

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compound 2 Syllabification: com·pound
Pronunciation: /ˈkämˌpound/


An open area enclosed by a fence, for example around a factory or large house or within a prison.
Example sentences
  • The villages are rather compact, consisting of groups of compounds enclosed by millet-stalk fences.
  • Within an enclosed compound, you discover a pristine, high-ceilinged exhibition space that occupies a renovated factory building.
  • Sensitive areas within compounds have also been given extra protection while electronic scanning of staff, visitors and vehicles entering sites has been stepped up.
enclosure, pound, coop;
estate, cloister


Late 17th century (referring to such an area in Southeast Asia): from Portuguese campon or Dutch kampoeng, from Malay kampong 'enclosure, hamlet'; compare with kampong.

Definition of compound in:
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