Compound vs compound

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Compound and compound  are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. We will examine the definitions of the words compound and compound, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

Compound (COM pound) is a noun that means a mixture of two or more parts that are combined to make a whole, a substance made up of two or more elements that have had a chemical reaction, or a word made from two or more separate words used together. Finally, a compound may be an enclosed area that usually contains several buildings. Compound is also used as an adjective to describe something made up of separate parts that have been united to make a whole. The word compound is derived from the Latin word, componere, which means to join together.

Compound (come POUND) is a verb that means to combine separate things together or to combine two or more elements together to make a whole; compound is also a financial term that means to pay interest on accrued interest and the principal of a financial instrument. Related words are compounds, compounded, compounding.


For decades, when people built themselves new homes in Ghana’s capital, Accra, you could be pretty sure it would be a compound house. (Bloomberg News)

Melamine is a type of chemical compound that finds its application in a number of industrial and consumer goods & services. (Manomet Current)

The NHS has faced a public health catastrophe—compounded by a decade of cuts (Prospect Magazine)

A Boston family has sued the Department of Children and Families, alleging that the agency compounded the nightmare of their abuse by now-disgraced cop Patrick Rose. (Boston Herald)