Pronunciation: (kum'pus),[key] —n. 1. an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north.
2. the enclosing line or limits of any area; perimeter: You can find anything you want downtown within the compass of ten square blocks. 3. space within limits; area; extent; range; scope: the narrow compass of the strait; the broad compass of the novel. 4. Also called range. the total range of tones of a voice or of a musical instrument.
5. due or proper limits; moderate bounds: Their behavior stayed within the compass of propriety. 6. a passing round; circuit: the compass of a year. 7. Often, compasses. an instrument for drawing or describing circles, measuring distances, etc., consisting generally of two movable, rigid legs hinged to each other at one end (usually used with pair of): to spread the legs of a compass and draw a larger circle. 8. (cap.) Astron. a. Also calledMariner's Compass. the constellation Pyxis.
b. Compasses,the constellation Circinus.
—adj. curved; forming a curve or arc: a compass timber; compass roof.
—v.t. 1. to go or move round; make the circuit of: It would take a week to compass his property on foot. 2. to extend or stretch around; hem in; surround; encircle: An old stone wall compasses their property. 3. to attain or achieve; accomplish; obtain.
4. to contrive; plot; scheme: to compass a treacherous plan. 5. to make curved or circular.
6. to comprehend; to grasp, as with the mind: His mind could not compass the extent of the disaster.