# Compass vs. Divider: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 5, 2023
A compass is a navigational instrument for finding direction, while a divider is a tool used in geometry to measure or divide distances.

## Key Differences

A "compass" is typically a navigational instrument that includes a magnetized needle showing the direction of the magnetic north of a planet's magnetosphere. It is an essential tool for navigators to discern directions and is widely used in various outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and exploration. The compass has been an indispensable instrument in human history, enabling exploration, discovery, and navigation over land and sea.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023
In contrast, a "divider" is primarily a drafting instrument consisting of two straight and adjustable legs, hinged at one end. It is used to measure distances or to divide lines into equal parts in geometrical applications. Dividers are essential tools in geometry, drafting, and other fields that require precise measurements and divisions. They enable users to scribe circles or arcs and transfer measurements accurately, aiding in creating detailed and accurate drawings.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023
A compass, especially the drawing compass, and a divider may appear similar in structure, both having two legs with a hinge at the top, but they serve different purposes. The drawing compass is used to draw circles or arcs in geometry and drafting, similar to a divider but with a distinct difference in one leg having a pencil or a pen.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023
"Divider," while having its specific use in geometry and drafting, could also have a different meaning in other contexts. For example, it can refer to a partition or a barrier separating spaces or areas. The word "divider" can encompass various objects or structures that serve to divide, separate, or partition spaces or areas in different fields or daily life.
Sara Rehman
Sep 23, 2023
The word "compass" can also be broad and versatile. Beyond navigation and geometry, "compass" could refer to a range or scope of something, like the compass of a voice or a subject. Understanding the context in which "compass" and "divider" are used is crucial for determining their appropriate meanings and applications.
Sara Rehman
Sep 23, 2023

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

A navigational instrument for finding direction.
A tool used to measure or divide distances.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

### Usage

Primarily used in geometry and drafting.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

### Structure

Typically has a magnetized needle or a pencil/pen leg.
Consists of two straight and adjustable legs.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

### Field

Geometry, drafting, interior design.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

### Alternative Meaning

Can refer to the range or scope of something.
Can refer to a partition or barrier separating spaces.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 23, 2023

## Compass and Divider Definitions

#### Compass

The sailor used a compass to navigate the sea.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Divider

A partition separating spaces.
A divider was placed between the kitchen and the living room.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

The range or scope of something.
The compass of the investigation expanded.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Divider

A tool for dividing lines and measuring distances.
The architect used a divider to transfer measurements.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

A device used to determine geographic direction, usually consisting of a magnetic needle or needles horizontally mounted or suspended and free to pivot until aligned with the earth's magnetic field.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A screen or piece of furniture dividing a room.
The open-plan office had dividers for privacy.
Sara Rehman
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

Another device, such as a radio compass or a gyrocompass, used for determining geographic direction.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A person or thing that divides.
The controversial law acted as a divider among the citizens.
Sara Rehman
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

A V-shaped device for describing circles or circular arcs and for taking measurements, consisting of a pair of rigid, end-hinged legs, one of which is equipped with a pen, pencil, or other marker and the other with a sharp point providing a pivot about which the drawing leg is turned. Also called pair of compasses.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

One that divides, especially a screen or other partition.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Awareness or understanding of one's purpose or objectives
"Lacking a coherent intellectual and moral commitment, [he] was forced to find his compass in personal experience" (Doris Kearns Goodwin).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

Chiefly British A highway median strip.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

An enclosing line or boundary; a circumference
Outside the compass of the fence.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A device resembling a compass, used for dividing lines and transferring measurements.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A restricted space or area
Four huge crates within the compass of the elevator.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

One who or that which divides or separates.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Range or scope, as of understanding, perception, or authority
The subject falls outside the compass of this study.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A physical object for dividing up a space.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(Music) See range.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A piece of card placed in a ring binder to separate groups of documents.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To make a circuit of; circle
The sailboat compassed the island.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

An electronic device for separating a signal, frequency, etc., into two or more parts.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To surround; encircle
The trees compass the grave.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A device resembling a drawing compass and used to transfer measurements of length.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To understand; comprehend
"God ... is too great a profundity to be compassed by human cerebration" (Flann O'Brian).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

The median (US) or central reservation (UK) of a highway or other road where traffic in opposite directions are kept separated.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

"He compassed his end only by the exercise of gentle violence" (Henry James).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

One who, or that which, divides; that which separates anything into parts.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To gain or achieve
"She had compassed the high felicity of seeing the two men beautifully take to each another" (Henry James).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

One who deals out to each his share.
Who made me a judge or a divider over you?
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To scheme; plot
Compass the death of the king.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

One who, or that which, causes division.
Hate is of all things the mightiest divider.
Money, the great divider of the world.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

Forming a curve.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

An instrument for dividing lines, describing circles, etc., compasses. See Compasses.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A magnetic or electronic device used to determine the cardinal directions (usually magnetic or true north).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A vertical structure that divides or separates (as a wall divides one room from another).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A pair of compasses (a device used to draw an arc or circle).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A taxonomist who classifies organisms into many groups on the basis of relatively minor characteristics
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(music) The range of notes of a musical instrument or voice.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A person who separates something into parts or groups
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(obsolete) A space within limits; an area.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

A vertical structure that divides or separates (as a wall divides one room from another)
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(obsolete) An enclosing limit; a boundary, a circumference.
Within the compass of an encircling wall
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Divider

The car crashed into the central divider.
Janet White
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

Moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; used with within.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

(archaic) Scope.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(obsolete) Range, reach.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(obsolete) A passing round; circuit; circuitous course.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To surround; to encircle; to environ; to stretch round.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To go about or round entirely; to traverse.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(dated) To accomplish; to reach; to achieve; to obtain.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(dated) To plot; to scheme (against someone).
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

(obsolete) In a circuit; round about.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A passing round; circuit; circuitous course.
They fetched a compass of seven day's journey.
This day I breathed first; time is come round,And where I did begin, there shall I end;My life is run his compass.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

An inclosing limit; boundary; circumference; as, within the compass of an encircling wall.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

An inclosed space; an area; extent.
Their wisdom . . . lies in a very narrow compass.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Extent; reach; sweep; capacity; sphere; as, the compass of his eye; the compass of imagination.
The compass of his argument.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; - used with within.
In two hundred years before (I speak within compass), no such commission had been executed.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

The range of notes, or tones, within the capacity of a voice or instrument.
You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

An instrument for determining directions upon the earth's surface by means of a magnetized bar or needle turning freely upon a pivot and pointing in a northerly and southerly direction.
He that first discovered the use of the compass did more for the supplying and increase of useful commodities than those who built workhouses.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A pair of compasses.
To fix one foot of their compass wherever they please.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A circle; a continent.
The tryne compas [the threefold world containing earth, sea, and heaven. Skeat.]
Its leaves are turned to the north as true as the magnet:This is the compass flower.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To go about or entirely round; to make the circuit of.
Ye shall compass the city seven times.
We the globe can compass soon.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To inclose on all sides; to surround; to encircle; to environ; to invest; to besiege; - used with about, round, around, and round about.
With terrors and with clamors compassed round.
Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To reach round; to circumvent; to get within one's power; to obtain; to accomplish.
If I can check my erring love, I will:If not, to compass her I'll use my skill.
How can you hope to compass your designs?
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To curve; to bend into a circular form.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

To purpose; to intend; to imagine; to plot.
Compassing and imagining the death of the king are synonymous terms; compassing signifying the purpose or design of the mind or will, and not, as in common speech, the carrying such design to effect.
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

An area in which something acts or operates or has power or control:
The range of a supersonic jet
The ambit of municipal legislation
Within the scope of an investigation
Outside the reach of the law
In the political orbit of a world power
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

The limit of capability;
Within the compass of education
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Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Drafting instrument used for drawing circles
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

This writer attempts more than his talents can compass
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Travel around, either by plane or ship;
We compassed the earth
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

Get the meaning of something;
Do you comprehend the meaning of this letter?
Sawaira Riaz
Apr 21, 2023

#### Compass

A device used for drawing circles or arcs.
The student used a compass to draw a perfect circle.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

An enclosing boundary or area.
They stayed within the compass of the schoolyard.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 23, 2023

#### Compass

A means of accomplishing something.
Kindness is a reliable compass in human interactions.
Harlon Moss
Sep 23, 2023

## FAQs

#### Is a compass always used for navigation?

No, a compass can also be a drawing tool or refer to the range of something.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a divider be used as furniture?

Yes, a divider can be a screen or piece of furniture dividing a room.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Does a drawing compass have a similar structure to a divider?

Yes, both have two legs hinged at one end, but serve different purposes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a compass have a pencil or a pen?

Yes, a drawing compass has one leg with a pencil or a pen to draw circles or arcs.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Is a divider always used in geometry or drafting?

No, it can also refer to partitions or barriers in various contexts.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can divider refer to a mathematical operation?

Yes, division is a mathematical operation, and "divider" can imply something that divides.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a compass show the exact geographical North?

No, it shows magnetic North, which is different from true geographical North.
Harlon Moss
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a divider have a meaning in roadway terminology?

Yes, it can refer to a barrier or partition in the middle of a road.
Janet White
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can the word divider refer to an individual?

Yes, it can metaphorically refer to someone causing division among people.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Are compasses always small, handheld devices?

Most are portable, but there are also large, mounted compasses for ships.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a divider separate rooms in a house?

Yes, dividers can be used to create distinct spaces within a room.
Harlon Moss
Sep 23, 2023

#### Do all compasses have a magnetized needle?

No, some, like gyrocompasses and GPS compasses, use other methods to find direction.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a compass refer to a musical range?

Yes, it can refer to the range of musical notes a voice or instrument can produce.
Harlon Moss
Sep 23, 2023

Most are, but some fixed dividers are set to specific distances.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 23, 2023

#### Can a compass be used in architectural drawing?

Yes, architects use compasses to draw precise circles and arcs.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 23, 2023