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This literally means "embrace." A zoo comprises mammals, reptiles, and birds (because it "embraces" or "includes" them). But animals do not comprise (embrace) a zoo--they constitute a zoo.
This entry is misleading, according to Merriam Webster embrace is a related word not a direct synonym, Webster's defines Comprise as follows:
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere
1 : to include especially within a particular scope <civilization as Lenin used the term would then certainly have comprised the changes that are now associated in our minds with "developed" rather than "developing" states -- Times Literary Supplement>
2 : to be made up of <a vast installation, comprising fifty buildings -- Jane Jacobs>
3 : COMPOSE, CONSTITUTE <a misconception as to what comprises a literary generation -- William Styron> <about 8 percent of our military forces are comprised of women -- Jimmy Carter>
Further Merriam Webster's Thesauraus notes;
Entry Word: comprise
Text: 1 to be made up of <the mall comprises three department stores and eighty smaller shops selling specialized goods>
Synonyms consist (of), contain
Related Words; embrace, encompass, entail, include, involve, take in; assimilate, embody, incorporate
2 to be all the substance of <at the time, about 100,000 fighting men and women comprised our military force in that country> -- see CONSTITUTE 1