‘Composed Of’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Shanea Patterson, updated on March 24, 2023

Have you heard someone say, ‘composed of,’ and now you’re wondering what it meant? Below, we’ll take a look at the definition and origin of the phrase, and you’ll see some examples of how to use the phrase correctly in a sentence.

In short, ‘Composed of’ means:

  • To be formed of various things.

Essentially, it means to be made up of a bunch of different things.

What Does ‘Composed Of’ Mean?

The phrase ‘composed of’ is an American expression used to describe something that’s made up of various things. The word is often confused with the word ‘comprised’ and the phrase ‘comprised of,’ which have similar meanings – ‘to be made up of.’

This expression (or idiom) is used to describe things like a collection of buildings on a college campus, for example. You might hear someone say that a university is composed of several buildings, a football field, etc.

In the show, Girlfriends, the cast is composed of four friends:

  • Joan, Maya, Lynn, and Toni live in Los Angeles.

The same is true of Sex and the City. The character list is composed of four friends:

  • Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda live in New York City.

Each woman makes up a part of the group, and they form one group as a whole.

When you go see a play, you’ll see the actors that the play is composed of in the programs they give you before taking your seat.

Where Does ‘Composed Of’ Come From?

The phrase ‘composed of’ comes from the 1400s when the word ‘compose’ was first introduced into the English language. The word comes from the word ‘compousen,’ which mean to write (a book).

An Old French composer used it to mean ‘put together, compound; adjust, arrange; write’ as early as the 12th century.

Today, it’s used as part of the phrase ‘composed of’ to mean to be made up of a bunch of different things.

Examples of ‘Composed Of’ in Sentences

How would you use ‘composed of’ in a sentence? 

Let’s look at some examples:

  • The staff is composed of three nurses, the receptionist from Human Resources, and the Vice President. They’re all great softball players, so we’re in for a great game.
  • Let’s be grateful that this boat isn’t composed of cheap materials. Even though we’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, we should be able to stay safely above water.
  • The swim team is composed of the picks we chose last week from the top swimmers in the state. There’s no way we won’t make it to the championship match this time around.
  • The United States is composed of 50 different states, from Alabama and Alaska to Vermont and Wyoming. I want to see if I can visit every single state by the end of next year.
  • The United Nations is composed of 193 Member States, which includes countries like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Belgium, and Australia. It also includes Mongolia, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Peru, Columbia, and a ton.
  • My entertainment blog is composed of articles about my favorite TV shows, movies, and music. I love to write opinion pieces about the latest shows and movies that come out. It’s my hobby that I hope to turn into a side hustle.
  • Rihanna’s latest album better be composed of some really good music. She’s been off the music scene for a while, so I expect her new music to be fire.
  • The film festival is composed of several indie films that I’m actually excited to see. I have two other film festivals I’m going to this summer, so it should be interesting to see what everyone’s come up with.

Other Ways to Say ‘Composed Of’

What other words and phrases convey the same meaning as ‘composed of’?

  • Comprised of
  • Made up of
  • Contain/containing
  • Amount to
  • Comprise
  • Embody
  • Incorporate
  • Involving
  • Encompassing
  • Combining
  • Consisting of
  • Covering
  • Constituting

Final Thoughts on ‘Composed Of’

To recap, we learned the following:

  • ‘Composed of’ means to be formed of various things.

Essentially, it means to be made up of a bunch of different things.

If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back and refresh your memory. We’ve got a ton of content dedicated to explaining Idioms and their meanings. Go check out our idiom library anytime.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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