American English

Definition of compass noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1(also magnetic compass) [countable] an instrument for finding direction, with a needle that always points to the north a map and compass the points of the compass (= N., S., E., W., etc.)
  2. 2[countable] (also compasses [plural]) an instrument with two long thin parts joined together at the top, used for drawing circles and measuring distances on a map
  3. 3[singular] (formal) a range or an extent, especially of what can be achieved in a particular situation the compass of a singer's voice (= the range from the lowest to the highest note that he or she can sing)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: compass

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