Open main menu



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle French consister, from Latin consistō (stand together, stop, become hard or solid, agree with, continue, exist), from com- (together) + sistō (I cause to stand, stand).


  • enPR: kənsĭst', IPA(key): /kənˈsɪst/
  • (file)


consist (third-person singular simple present consists, present participle consisting, simple past and past participle consisted)

  1. (obsolete, copulative) To be.
    • 1603, John Florio, transl.; Michel de Montaigne, chapter 15, in The Essayes, [], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      Why doe they cover with so many lets, one over another, those parts where chiefly consisteth [transl. loge] our pleasure and theirs?
    • 1846, District School Journal for the State of New-York - Volume 7, page 183:
      District number twenty-five (25) shall consist the counties of Tompkins, Seneca and Yates.
    • 2010, Steven E. Clay, US Army Order of Battle, 1919-1941:
      The district consisted the geographical area of the following counties in Wisconsin: Price, Rusk, Sawyer, and Taylor.
  2. (obsolete, intransitive) To exist.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Alexander Pope
      [Homer] allows their characters such esteemable qualities as could consist, and in truth generally do, with tender frailties.
    • 1841, “The” Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance:
      First, because it is granted by all divines, that hypothetical necessity, or necessity upon a supposition, may consist with liberty.
    • 2010, Michael O'Buck, Eternal Life: A Question of Honor, →ISBN:
      All things do not consist by Christ today, and all the way back to Adam all things have not consisted by Christ.
  3. (intransitive, with in) To be comprised or contained
    • 1953, Jean Piaget, Origin of Intelligence in the Child, published 2013:
      It is that contact between the mind and things does not consist, at any level, in perceptions of simple data or in associations of such unities, but always consists in apprehensions of more or less “structured” complexes.
  4. (intransitive, with of) To be composed, formed, or made up (of).
    The greeting package consists of some brochures, a pen, and a notepad.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 6, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
      The men resided in a huge bunk house, which consisted of one room only, with a shack outside where the cooking was done. In the large room were a dozen bunks ; half of them in a very dishevelled state, [].
    • 2013 July 19, Timothy Garton Ash, “Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 18:
      Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too. The current power play consists of an extraordinary range of countries simultaneously sitting down to negotiate big free trade and investment agreements.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From consist (verb).



consist (plural consists)

  1. (rail transport) A lineup or sequence of railroad carriages or cars, with or without a locomotive, that form a unit.
    The train's consist included a baggage car, four passenger cars, and a diner.

Further readingEdit