Definition of comprehensive in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌkämprəˈhensiv/


1Complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something: a comprehensive list of sources
More example sentences
  • From a comprehensive list of nearly 1,600 daily newspapers, 500 newspapers were selected using standard interval sampling.
  • The Guide contains a comprehensive list of businesses and services in the town and contains a very useful street map of Ballinrobe.
  • Its Explore Kodiak guide has a comprehensive list of outfitters and free activities.
1.1Of large content or scope; wide-ranging: a comprehensive collection of photographs
More example sentences
  • Its thorough research and comprehensive scope should prove invaluable for anyone seriously interested in the subject.
  • The design phase is comprehensive in scope, tackling everything from content and design to functionality and user interface.
  • The Senate Inquiry into mandatory sentencing was broad-ranging, thorough and comprehensive in terms of scope and evidence.
inclusive, all-inclusive, complete;
far-reaching, radical, sweeping, across the board, wholesale;
informal wall-to-wall
1.2(Of automobile insurance) providing coverage for most risks, including damage to the policyholder’s own vehicle: comprehensive and collision insurance
More example sentences
  • Some cost items will differ for different vehicle types, notably comprehensive insurance, but in the main it is reasonable to use fleet size.
  • Is it possible to take out one insurance policy, preferably comprehensive, that would cover us all to drive either of the cars?
  • The good news for motorists with fully comprehensive insurance is that they are covered if their car has water damage.
1.3 (also comprehensive examination or comp) An examination testing a student’s command of a special field of knowledge.
Example sentences
  • The reality of life in Wereilu and in Ethiopia is that few students are able to pass the comprehensive examinations with a high enough mark to continue with tertiary education.
  • Currently in our program, a senior comprehensive examination is given, but is not required for either graduation or as eligibility to take a national certification examination.
  • As an example, one student who by his own admission did not study for, nor pass the senior comprehensive examination, took a job that required that he have national certification.
2 archaic Relating to understanding.


(in full comprehensive school) British
A secondary school catering to children of all abilities from a given area.
Example sentences
  • About 12,000 pupils went on to study at the same 400 selective grammar schools or top-rated comprehensives.
  • The majority of these producers did not attend fee-paying schools; more went to grammar schools or comprehensives.
  • City academies - independent comprehensives part-funded by the private sector - and specialist schools will not be introduced north of the Border.



Pronunciation: /ˌkämprəˈhensivnəs/
Example sentences
  • The Penguin collection has enormous range and comprehensiveness.
  • I was absolutely staggered at his filing system, at its comprehensiveness and thoroughness.
  • In the study reported here, we assessed the completeness and comprehensiveness of documentation by care providers in the ICU of end-of-life care.


Early 17th century: from French compréhensif, -ive, from late Latin comprehensivus, from the verb comprehendere 'grasp mentally'.

Words that rhyme with comprehensive

apprehensive, coextensive, defensive, expensive, extensive, intensive, offensive, ostensive, pensive, suspensive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·pre·hen·sive

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words