tr.v. in·clud·ed, in·clud·ing, in·cludes
1. To contain or take in as a part, element, or member.
2. To consider as part of or allow into a group or class: thanked the host for including us.
[Middle English includen, from Latin inclūdere, to enclose : in-, in; see IN-2 + claudere, to close.]
in·cluda·ble, in·cludi·ble adj.
Synonyms: include, comprise, comprehend, embrace, encompass
These verbs mean to take in or contain as part of something larger. Include often implies an incomplete listing: "Through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in 'We, the people'" (Barbara C. Jordan).
Comprise usually implies that all of the components are stated: The book comprises 15 chapters.
Comprehend, embrace, and encompass usually refer to the taking in of subordinate elements: My field of study comprehends several disciplines. This theory embraces many facets of human behavior. The debate encompassed all points of view.
Usage Note: The word include generally suggests that what follows is a partial list, not an exhaustive list, of the contents of what the subject refers to. Therefore a sentence like New England includes Connecticut and Rhode Island is acceptable, since it implies that there are states that are also a part of New England but are not mentioned in the list, and in fact this is correct. When a full enumeration is given, a different construction, such as one using comprise or consist of, must be used: New England comprises/consists of (not includes) Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. There are cases, however, in which include does not rule out the possibility of a complete listing, as when the exact makeup of the subject is unknown or yet to be determined. Thus the sentence The bibliography should include all the journal articles you have used does not entail that the bibliography must contain something other than journal articles, though it does leave that possibility open. Another case in which the list following include may be exhaustive is when the list explicitly or implicitly describes what is not included. Thus, We decided to include only those artists who had written works within the last five years is acceptable, since the set of artists not included is implicitly defined as those who have not written works within the last five years. The same goes for cases of explicit exclusion from the list: My shopping list includes everything you told me to buy, and nothing else. See Usage Note at comprise.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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