When you compile something, like a recipe-book or a mix-tape, you put it together using things that already exist (recipes, songs).

Poetry anthologies, greatest-hits albums, and world-record books are all compilations, because they're made up of things that were originally published or released somewhere else. If you want to skip out on soccer practice one day, you might compile of list of excuses.

Definitions of compile
  1. verb
    get or gather together
    synonyms: accumulate, amass, collect, hoard, pile up, roll up
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    run up
    pile up (debts or scores)
    collect or gather
    collect, pull in
    get or bring together
    come up, scrape, scrape up, scratch
    gather (money or other resources) together over time
    chunk, lump
    put together indiscriminately
    make into a bale
    take in and retain
    accumulate a fund for the discharge of a recurrent liability
    place or store up in a fund for accumulation
    archive, file away
    put into an archive
    accumulate gradually
    beat up, drum up, rally
    type of:
    hive away, lay in, put in, salt away, stack away, stash away, store
    keep or lay aside for future use
  2. verb
    put together out of existing material
    compile a list”
    synonyms: compose
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    cobble together, cobble up
    put together hastily
    anthologise, anthologize
    compile an anthology
    catalog, catalogue
    make a catalogue, compile a catalogue
    type of:
    make by shaping or bringing together constituents
  3. verb
    use a computer program to translate source code written in a particular programming language into computer-readable machine code that can be executed
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    type of:
    make by shaping or bringing together constituents
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