Definition of combination in English:

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Pronunciation: /kɒmbɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/


1A joining or merging of different parts or qualities in which the component elements are individually distinct: a magnificent combination of drama, dance, and music the combination of recession and falling property values proved fatal to the business community this colour combination is stunningly effective
More example sentences
  • The combination of top quality performance and the ambience of the concerts has produced evenings of great enjoyment both musically and socially.
  • He said it was crucial to study the uplands because they had a distinct combination of agriculture, landscape, tourism, plus artistic and cultural inspiration.
  • We've found that your particular combination of qualities is rare - only 2 in 10,000 people share the same general mix of traits.
amalgamation, amalgam, merger, union, blend, mixture, mix, mingling, meld, fusion, fusing, compound, alloy, marriage, weave, coalescence, coalition, pooling, integration, conjunction, incorporation, synthesis, composite, composition, concoction
informal mash-up
1.1 [mass noun] The process of combining different parts or qualities or the state of being combined: these four factors work together in combination
More example sentences
  • In combination there is something even beyond, that joins the three in harmony.
  • The twinport petrol engines achieve reductions in fuel consumption by using a variable intake manifold in combination with high rates of exhaust gas recirculation.
  • The therapy involves heated, very smooth stones being rubbed into your back, arms and legs in combination with traditional Swedish massage techniques.
cooperation, collaboration, concert, synergy, association, union, alliance, partnership, coalition, league
1.2A particular arrangement of different elements: the canvases may be arranged in any number of combinations
More example sentences
  • At one point I did a lot of work with producing the same song in many different arrangements and instrumental combinations, sort of like a film maker experimenting with angles etc.
  • The flexible seating and storage arrangements allow them to choose freely between different combinations of passengers and luggage.
  • The piece consists of dialogue rapidly rattled off by the characters, as they sit or arrange themselves in different combinations around a pair of wooden benches.
1.3(In sport) a coordinated and effective sequence of moves: a good uppercut/hook combination
More example sentences
  • He has natural pass-rushing skills and instincts, but he must develop a better inside move and use more combinations.
  • He stepped up a gear in the second, landing wonderful combinations before moving clear of danger, and he finished it with an 18-11 lead.
  • If judges actually learn to score body shots or combinations, then the sport would resemble boxing.
1.4 [as modifier] Denoting an object or process that unites different uses, functions, or ingredients: combination remedies contain painkiller, decongestant, and cough soother
More example sentences
  • Because the bar comes down at a 45-degree angle, high cable rows function as a combination row and front pulldown.
  • The popularity of the over-the-counter combination remedies may well be changing the practice of homeopathy.
  • Individual remedies are more potent, but if you're not sure which one is right for you, try a combination remedy.
1.5 [mass noun] Chemistry The joining of substances in a compound with new properties.
2A sequence of numbers or letters used to open a combination lock: underneath the picture is a safe: the combination is 210319
More example sentences
  • Turning the dial and entering the correct combination, he pulled open the metal safe door and peered inside at the Manila folders it contained.
  • He set the safe on his bed, quickly put in the combination and opened it.
  • It must be a hidden safe, one that will only open if the right combination was dialed on the phone.
3British A motorcycle with a sidecar attached.
Example sentences
  • Racing with specially constructed motor cycle and sidecar combinations is a recognised but inherently very dangerous sport.
  • A thought I just had: how much do you hate it when motorbike/sidecar combinations come apart in films and the sidecar carries on on its own, usually ending up in a duck pond or hay stack.
  • They moved at high speed, often with motorcycle combinations, ahead of the panzer divisions, to reconnoitre routes and maintain the momentum of the assault.
4 (combinations) British dated A single undergarment covering the body and legs: woollen combinations
5 Mathematics A selection of a given number of elements from a larger number without regard to their arrangement.
Example sentences
  • His final publication was on combinations where he used the notation (m, n) for the combinations of n objects selected from m objects.
  • Mahavira gave special rules for the use of permutations and combinations which was a topic of special interest in Jaina mathematics.
  • Perhaps they're computing permutations of combinations?



Example sentences
  • The same analyses also found significant differences in the trends in both types of combinational use in the 1990s by age, showing that younger adolescents increased their rates of combinational use more than older adolescents.
  • The product term of alcohol consumption and the frequency of use of marijuana was included to test whether the rates of use of the two substances interacted in determining the probability of combinational use.
  • For example, we know that there were combinational experiments that produced 12-limbed and 8-limbed critters of which we see no survivors today…


Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmbɪnətɪv/
Example sentences
  • In addition to that I think that the ending is less then definite, taking into account the predominant viewpoint of the film and the combinative delusional and Oedipal connotations of the film.
  • Though some might find such games dull, I personally feel that the clarity of the resulting positions (even his combinative games somehow appear thematic and clear) should prove extremely instructive for non-masters.
  • Various motifs are intertwined to make the combinative solution work.


Pronunciation: /ˌkɒmbɪnəˈtɔːrɪəl/
adjective ( Mathematics )
Example sentences
  • Similarly, he too stated his results as identities for power series and did not emphasise the partition theoretic or combinatorial significance.
  • Personally, I find the projective plane to be a useful example to demonstrate the limits of combinatorial arguments when reasoning about geometric objects.
  • The birth of combinatorial chemistry in the early nineties promised to revolutionize this laborious process by offering a way to synthesize trillions of compounds at a time.


adverb ( Mathematics )
Example sentences
  • Moreover, it suggests that proteins can be combinatorially designed by fusing relatively stable substructures derived from different native proteins.
  • In particular, if a rhombic dodecahedron is marked with conical bumps and nicks on its faces so as to be combinatorially unbalanced, a simple counting argument reveals that the maximum possible Heesch number is 8.
  • If you need to use convexity, then Helly's theorem (and Radon's theorem and others) gives you a nice way of handling convexity combinatorially.


Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmbɪnət(ə)ri/
Example sentences
  • I'm always sneakingly envious of the massive precision of combinatory languages such as German or Japanese, that generate words for concepts such as ‘the rush of yearning caused by seeing the moon unexpectedly through trees’.
  • This combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs.
  • It exemplifies the kind of poem and the kind of combinatory process of composition that the poet was developing out of his travels.


Late Middle English: from late Latin combinatio(n-), from the verb combinare 'join two by two' (see combine1).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com¦bin|ation

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