First attested 1564, from Middle French compartiment, from Italian compartimento, from Late Latin compartiri (to divide with, to share with), from com- + partiri (to apportion, to divide, to share).



compartment (plural compartments)

  1. A room, or section, or chamber
    Two men were seated in a well-lit compartment of a third-class railway carriage.
    • 2014 April 28, Dr. Ulhas R. Gunjal, Home, Again!: A Novel of Identity, Self-Discovery, and Tragedy[1], AuthorHouse, →ISBN, OCLC 1124321729, page 313:
      This is a second-class ticket. And you're sitting in the first class!” “I'd no idea,” Haldiram said. “I didn't know what compartment was this.” And looking around, he asked, “Where does it say First Class? I still can't see it.
  2. One of the parts into which an area is subdivided.
  3. (biochemistry) Part of a protein that serves a specific function.
  4. (heraldry) A mound (often of grass) beneath the shield in a coat of arms on which the supporters stand.
  5. (anatomy) A region in the body, delimited by a biological membrane.

Derived termsEdit



compartment (third-person singular simple present compartments, present participle compartmenting, simple past and past participle compartmented)

  1. (transitive) To arrange in separate compartments.