Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MATHS

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: compas 'measure, circle, compass', from compasser 'to measure', from Vulgar Latin compassare 'to measure by walking', from Latin com- ( COM-) + passus ( PACE1)


1 [countable]DLO an instrument that shows directions and has a needle that always points north:
a map and compass
compass points/points of the compass (=the marks on a compass that show you north, south, east, west etc)
2 [countable] also compassesHMSG a V-shaped instrument with one sharp point and a pen or pencil at the other end, used for drawing circles or measuring distances on maps
3 [uncountable] formal the area or range of subjects that someone is responsible for or that is discussed in a book
compass of
Within the brief compass of a single page, the author covers most of the major points.
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