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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)

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.

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!"