Definition of "compass" [com•pass]

  • 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. (noun)
  • Another device, such as a radio compass or a gyrocompass, used for determining geographic direction. (noun)
  • 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. (noun)
  • An enclosing line or boundary; a circumference: outside the compass of the fence. See Synonyms at circumference. (noun)
  • A restricted space or area: four huge crates within the compass of the elevator. (noun)
  • An instrument for finding direction, usually having a magnetized needle which points to magnetic north swinging freely on a pivot (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • An instrument used for drawing circles, measuring distances, etc, that consists of two arms, joined at one end, one arm of which serves as a pivot or stationary reference point, while the other is extended or describes a circle (noun)
  • Limits or range (noun)
  • The interval between the lowest and highest note attainable by a voice or musical instrument (noun)
  • A circular course (noun)
  • To encircle or surround; hem in (verb)
  • To comprehend or grasp mentally (verb)
  • To achieve; attain; accomplish (verb)
  • To plot (verb) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "compass" in a sentence
  • ""The book, though small in compass, is evidently the work of great research and reflection, and is a valuable acquisition to historical literature.""
  • "Agreed with hengst, just another thing to add on, if his compass is the type (as most are) with a rotating housing, he cant use the marking within the housing to keep on his original bearing, otherwise mistakes in shooting short bearings could result in compounding misdirection."
  • "And this compass is the best I can make – though my next will be. better!"