Compass meaning

kŭm'pəs, kŏm'-
A compass is defined as a device with magnetic needles used for showing the direction one is facing.

An example of a compass is what a backpacker would use to find their way through the woods.

noun
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Awareness or understanding of one's purpose or objectives.
noun
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The definition of compass means to understand, grasp or fulfill.

An example of to compass is figuring out why your car won't start.

verb
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The definition of a compass is a tool with two pointed legs connected by a hinge, one end with a writing device the other used as a stable pivot, used for drawing perfect circles and other things.

An example of compass is what an architect uses for drawing curves in a building plan.

noun
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A device used for drawing circles and arcs and for measuring distances on maps, consisting of two legs hinged together at one end.
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A magnetic or electronic device used to determine the cardinal directions (usually magnetic or true north).
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A pair of compasses (a device used to draw an arc or circle).
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(music) The range of notes of a musical instrument or voice.
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Addison.

Their wisdom […] lies in a very narrow compass.

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1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 14

Clara thought she had never seen him look so small and mean. He was as if trying to get himself into the smallest possible compass.

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Moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; used with within.
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Shakespeare.

This day I breathed first; time is come round, / And where I did begin, there shall I end; / My life is run his compass.

noun
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To surround; to encircle; to environ; to stretch round.
verb
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To go about or round entirely; to traverse.
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(dated) To accomplish; to reach; to achieve; to obtain.
verb
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(dated) To plot; to scheme (against someone).
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(obsolete) In a circuit; round about.
adverb
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A V-shaped device for describing circles or circular arcs and for taking measurements, consisting of a pair of rigid, end-hinged legs, one of which is equipped with a pen, pencil, or other marker and the other with a sharp point providing a pivot about which the drawing leg is turned.
noun
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To make a circuit of; circle.

The sailboat compassed the island.

verb
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To surround; encircle.

The trees compass the grave.

verb
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To understand; comprehend.
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To scheme; plot.

Compass the death of the king.

verb
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Forming a curve.
adjective
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To go around; make a circuit of.
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verb
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To grasp mentally; understand; comprehend.
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To reach successfully; achieve; accomplish.

To compass one's ends.

verb
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To plot or contrive (something harmful)
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An adjustable instrument consisting of two arms connected at one end by a hinge, with typically one arm having a pencil or pen attached to its other end and the other arm ending in a point: used for drawing arcs and circles, measuring distances on a map, etc.
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A boundary line; circumference.
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An enclosed area.
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Full extent or range; reach; scope; specif., range of tones, as of a voice.
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Any of various instruments for showing geographical direction, esp. one consisting of a magnetic needle swinging freely on a pivot and pointing to the magnetic north.
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A circuit; course.
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Round; circular or semicircular.
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A device used to determine geographical direction, usually consisting of a magnetic needle mounted on a pivot, aligning itself naturally with the Earth's magnetic field so that it points to the Earth's geomagnetic north or south pole.
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Origin of compass

  • Middle English compas circle, compass from Old French from compasser to measure from Vulgar Latin compassāre to pace off Latin com- com- Latin passus step pace1
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • For noun: from Middle English compas (“a circle, circuit, limit, form, a mathematical instrument”), from Old French compas, from Medieval Latin compassus (“a circle, a circuit”), from Latin com- (“together”) + passus (“a pace, step, later a pass, way, route”); see pass, pace.
    From Wiktionary
  • For verb: from Middle English compassen (“to go around, make a circuit, draw a circle, contrive, intend”), from Old French compasser; from the noun; see compass as a noun.
    From Wiktionary