AskDefine | Define compendium

Dictionary Definition



1 a publication containing a variety of works [syn: collection]
2 a concise but comprehensive summary of a larger work

User Contributed Dictionary



From compendium, from compendere, (to weigh together)

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Extensive Definition

A compendium is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. A compendium may summarize a larger work. In most cases the body of knowledge will concern some delimited field of human interest or endeavour (for example, hydrogeology, logology, ichthyology, phytosociology, or myrmecology), while a "universal" encyclopedia can be referred to as a compendium of all human knowledge.
The word compendium comes from the Latin word compendere, meaning "to weigh together".


An example of a compendium might be the Oxford English Dictionary project which attempts to be a comprehensive compilation of words in the English language. Other sites on the internet also have directories that could make some claim to this; Google's directory,, etc.
Another example is the recently released Compendium - Catechism of the Catholic Church, a 598 questions and answers concise book which summarises the same set of Catholic Faith and Morals.
compendium in German: Kompendium
compendium in Spanish: Compendio
compendium in Polish: Kompendium
compendium in Portuguese: Compêndio
compendium in Romanian: Compendiu
compendium in Russian: Компендиум (образование)

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