from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A device used to determine geographic direction, usually consisting of a magnetic needle or needles horizontally mounted or suspended and free to pivot until aligned with the earth's magnetic field.
- n. Another device, such as a radio compass or a gyrocompass, used for determining geographic direction.
- n. 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. Also called pair of compasses.
- n. An enclosing line or boundary; a circumference: outside the compass of the fence. See Synonyms at circumference.
- n. A restricted space or area: four huge crates within the compass of the elevator.
- n. Range or scope, as of understanding, perception, or authority: "Lacking a coherent intellectual and moral commitment, [he] was forced to find his compass in personal experience” ( Doris Kearns Goodwin). See Synonyms at range.
- n. Music See range.
- transitive v. To make a circuit of; circle: The sailboat compassed the island.
- transitive v. To surround; encircle. See Synonyms at surround.
- transitive v. To understand; comprehend.
- transitive v. To succeed in carrying out; accomplish. See Synonyms at reach.
- transitive v. To scheme; plot.
- adj. Forming a curved configuration.
- adj. Semicircular. Used of bow windows.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A magnetic or electronic device used to determine the cardinal directions (usually magnetic or true north).
- n. A pair of compasses (a device used to draw an arc or circle).
- n. The range of notes of a musical instrument or voice.
- n. A space within limits; area.
- n. Scope.
- v. To surround; to encircle; to environ; to stretch round.
- v. To go about or round entirely; to traverse.
- v. To accomplish; to reach; to achieve; to obtain.
- v. To plot; to scheme (against someone).
- adv. In a circuit; round about.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A passing round; circuit; circuitous course.
- n. An inclosing limit; boundary; circumference.
- n. An inclosed space; an area; extent.
- n. Extent; reach; sweep; capacity; sphere.
- n. Moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; -- used with within.
- n. The range of notes, or tones, within the capacity of a voice or instrument.
- n. An instrument for determining directions upon the earth's surface by means of a magnetized bar or needle turning freely upon a pivot and pointing in a northerly and southerly direction.
- n. A pair of compasses.
- n. A circle; a continent.
- transitive v. To go about or entirely round; to make the circuit of.
- transitive v. To inclose on all sides; to surround; to encircle; to environ; to invest; to besiege; -- used with about, round, around, and round about.
- transitive v. To reach round; to circumvent; to get within one's power; to obtain; to accomplish.
- transitive v. To curve; to bend into a circular form.
- transitive v. To purpose; to intend; to imagine; to plot.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A circle.
- n. Specifically—2. The circle of the earth.
- n. A passing round or in a circle; a circular course; a circuit; round; circumference.
- n. Range or extent within limits; hence, limit or boundary; limits.
- n. In music, the total range or number of tones which a given voice or instrument is capable of producing.
- n. Contrivance; scheme; plotting; plan.
- n. An instrument used to indicate the magnetic meridian, or the direction of objects with reference to that meridian.
- n. A mathematical instrument for describing circles, or for measuring figures, distances between two points, etc.: commonly in the plural.
- n. In zoology, the radius of the dentary apparatus of a sea-urchin. See radius, and cut under lantern.
- n. In archery, elevation of the arrow in shooting.
- n. To keep within bounds.
- To stretch round; extend about so as to embrace; inclose; encircle; environ; surround.
- To go about or round; make the circuit of.
- To obtain; attain to; procure; gain; bring within one's power; accomplish.
- To purpose; intend; imagine; plot; contrive.
- To canvass; reflect upon; ponder.
- To bend in the form of a circle or curve; make circular or curved: as, to compass timber for a ship.
- Synonyms To achieve, bring about, effect, secure.
- In a compass or curve; in archery, at an elevation.
- To the limit.
- n. [capitalized] In astronomy, a small southern constellation.
- To grasp mentally; comprehend.
- To adjust or orient by means of a compass.
- To level a compass.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. get the meaning of something
- n. navigational instrument for finding directions
- v. travel around, either by plane or ship
- v. bring about; accomplish
- n. an area in which something acts or operates or has power or control:
- n. the limit of capability
- n. drafting instrument used for drawing circles
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; see pace1.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth 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. (Wiktionary)