Comprise

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How do I use the word comprise?

Comprise

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.

   

Comments

7/5/2006 4:05:23 PM
GH said:

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
Function: verb
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




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