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. It could also be referred to as a tome.

The word compendium arrives from the Latin word "compenso", meaning "to weigh together or balance".

The 21st century has seen the rise of democratized, online compendia in various fields.



An example would be the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a concise 598-question-and-answer book which summarises the teachings of the Catholic Faith and Morals.[1]

The Bible is another example of a compendium - a group of many writings of the prophets and apostles over a space of time, whose books are put together to form the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The bestiary, popular in the middle ages, is another example of a compendium. Bestiaries cataloged animals and facts about natural history and were particularly popular in England and France around the 12th century.

See also


  1. ^ Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (USCCB 2005), 200 pages, English hardcover ISBN 1574557254-8675309.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • compendium — [ kɔ̃pɛ̃djɔm ] n. m. • 1584; lat. compendium « abréviation » ♦ Didact. Abrégé. ⇒ condensé, résumé. Fig. « La médecine étant un compendium des erreurs successives et contradictoires des médecins » (Proust). ● compendium nom masculin (latin… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • compendium — COMPÉNDIUM s.n. v. compendiu. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  compéndium (tehn.) s. n. (sil. di um), pl. compéndiumuri Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  COMPÉNDIUM s.n …   Dicționar Român

  • Compendium — Com*pen di*um, n.; pl. E. {Compendiums}, L. {Compendia}. [L. compendium that which is weighed, saved, or shortened, a short way, fr. compendere to weigh; com + pendere to weigh. See {Pension}, and cf. {Compend}.] A brief compilation or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • COMPENDIUM — a Romanis, aut crte a Gallis, qui ipsi Romani dicti, conditum, vel quod erat ad Axonae et Isatae conffluentem et quasi compendium positum; vel quod per compendium, urbes et castra ripae Suminae petentibus occurrebat, sic dictum: Sub Chlodovaei M …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • compendium — compendium, syllabus, digest, pandect, survey, sketch, précis, aperçu are comparable when they mean a treatment of a subject or of a topic in brief compass. A compendium gathers in brief, orderly, and intelligible form, sometimes outlined, the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • compendium — COMPENDIUM. s. m. (Pron. Compéndiome. ) Mot emprunté du Latin, qui signifie Abrégé. Le compendium de la Philosophie …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • compendium — 1580s, from L. compendium a shortening, saving, lit. that which is weighed together, from L. compendere to weigh together, from com together (see COM (Cf. com )) + pendere to weigh (see PENDANT (Cf. pendant)). Borrowed earlier as compen …   Etymology dictionary

  • Compendĭum [1] — Compendĭum (lat.), 1) Ersparung, Abkürzung; 2) (Cabalium liber), im Mittelalter ein Buch, in dem jedes einzelnen Bürgers Vermögen kurz u. im Allgemeinen angegeben war; 3) systematische Aufstellung der wichtigsten Begriffe u. Sätze einer… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Compendĭum [2] — Compendĭum (a. Geogr.), so v. w. Compiegne …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Compendium — Compendium, wörtlich Abkürzung oder Ersparung. Gewöhnlich eine Sammlung, worin die Lehrsätze und Hauptmarimen einer Wissenschaft kurz und bündig zusammengefaßt sind. Commentar ist das Entgegengesetzte, denn hier werden alle Principien ausführlich …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Compendium — (lat. Ersparung), Handbuch oder Leitfaden, in welchem nur die wesentlichen Punkte einer Wissenschaft abgehandelt sind. Compendiarisch, eine so angelegte Behandlung einer Wissenschaft; compendiös, kurz gefaßt und in gedrängter, scharftreffender… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon