Definition of Compass

Com´pass   Pronunciation: kŭm´pas
n.1.A passing round; circuit; circuitous course.
They fetched a compass of seven day's journey.
- 2 Kings iii. 9.
This day I breathed first; time is come round,
And where I did begin, there shall I end;
My life is run his compass.
- Shak.
2.An inclosing limit; boundary; circumference; as, within the compass of an encircling wall.
3.An inclosed space; an area; extent.
Their wisdom . . . lies in a very narrow compass.
- Addison.
4.Extent; reach; sweep; capacity; sphere; as, the compass of his eye; the compass of imagination.
The compass of his argument.
- Wordsworth.
5.Moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; - used with within.
In two hundred years before (I speak within compass), no such commission had been executed.
- Sir J. Davies.
6.(Mus.) The range of notes, or tones, within the capacity of a voice or instrument.
You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass.
- Shak.
7.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.
He that first discovered the use of the compass did more for the supplying and increase of useful commodities than those who built workhouses.
- Locke.
8.A pair of compasses.
To fix one foot of their compass wherever they please.
- Swift.
9.A circle; a continent.
The tryne compas [the threefold world containing earth, sea, and heaven. Skeat.]
- Chaucer.
Azimuth compass
See under Azimuth.
Beam compass
See under Beam.
Compass card
the circular card attached to the needles of a mariner's compass, on which are marked the thirty-two points or rhumbs.
Compass dial
a small pocket compass fitted with a sundial to tell the hour of the day.
Compass plane
(Carp.) a plane, convex in the direction of its length on the under side, for smoothing the concave faces of curved woodwork.
Compass plant
(Bot.) a plant of the American prairies (Silphium laciniatum), not unlike a small sunflower; rosinweed. Its lower and root leaves are vertical, and on the prairies are disposed to present their edges north and south.
Its leaves are turned to the north as true as the magnet:
This is the compass flower.
- Longefellow.
v. t.1.To go about or entirely round; to make the circuit of.
[imp. & p. p. Compassed (kŭm"past); p. pr. & vb. n. Compassing.]
Ye shall compass the city seven times.
- Josh. vi. 4.
We the globe can compass soon.
- Shak.
2.To inclose on all sides; to surround; to encircle; to environ; to invest; to besiege; - used with about, round, around, and round about.
With terrors and with clamors compassed round.
- Milton.
Now all the blessings
Of a glad father compass thee about.
- Shak.
Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round.
- Luke xix. 43.
3.To reach round; to circumvent; to get within one's power; to obtain; to accomplish.
If I can check my erring love, I will:
If not, to compass her I'll use my skill.
- Shak.
How can you hope to compass your designs?
- Denham.
4.To curve; to bend into a circular form.
5.(Law) To purpose; to intend; to imagine; to plot.
Compassing and imagining the death of the king are synonymous terms; compassing signifying the purpose or design of the mind or will, and not, as in common speech, the carrying such design to effect.
- Blackstone.

Related Words

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Comparative anatomy
Comparative grammar
Comparative sciences
Comparison of hands
compass board
Compass card
Compass dial
Compass plane
Compass plant
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