component

It's the Ikea curse: You spend four hours figuring out how to piece together your new furniture, only to be left with one random component, or part, that doesn't seem to fit anywhere.

It's not surprising that component is related to a Latin word that means "to put together." You simply can't put something together without all of the correct components. Technically speaking, a component is an element of a system or a part of a machine. But a component can also be a factor or ingredient, such as the components of a decision or the components of a really good chocolate cake.

Definitions of component
  1. noun
    an artifact that is one of the individual parts of which a composite entity is made up; especially a part that can be separated from or attached to a system
    “spare components for cars”
    “a component or constituent element of a system”
    synonyms: constituent, element
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    accessory, add-on, appurtenance, supplement
    a supplementary component that improves capability
    add-on, addition, improver
    a component that is added to something to improve it
    audio
    the sound elements of television
    auto part, car part
    a component of an automobile
    crystal
    a crystalline element used as a component in various electronic devices
    computer hardware, hardware
    (computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system
    heating element
    the component of a heater or range that transforms fuel or electricity into heat
    ingredient
    a component of a mixture or compound
    input
    a component of production; something that goes into the production of output
    landside
    component consisting of a side piece opposite the moldboard
    making
    (usually plural) the components needed for making or doing something
    module
    a self-contained component (unit or item) that is used in combination with other components
    pel, picture element, pixel
    (computer science) the smallest discrete component of an image or picture on a CRT screen (usually a colored dot)
    retrofit
    a component or accessory added to something after it has been manufactured
    spare, spare part
    an extra component of a machine or other apparatus
    spark gap
    a component of an ignition system; consists of two shaped electrodes and the space between them
    additive
    something added to enhance food or gasoline or paint or medicine
    admixture, intermixture
    an additional ingredient that is added by mixing with the base
    afterthought
    an addition that was not included in the original plan
    annex, annexe, extension, wing
    an addition that extends a main building
    attachment
    a supplementary part or accessory
    auto accessory
    an accessory for an automobile
    bar
    a heating element in an electric fire
    base
    the principal ingredient of a mixture
    burner
    the heating elements of a stove or range on which pots and pans are placed for cooking
    cartridge
    a module designed to be inserted into a larger piece of equipment
    C.P.U., CPU, central processing unit, central processor, mainframe, processor
    (computer science) the part of a computer (a microprocessor chip) that does most of the data processing
    computer accessory
    an accessory for a computer
    elongation, extension
    an addition to the length of something
    fitting
    a small and often standardized accessory to a larger system
    fixings, trimmings
    the accessories that normally accompany (something or some activity)
    immersion heater
    a heating element that is immersed in the liquid that is to be heated (as in a hot-water tank)
    computer memory, computer storage, memory, memory board, storage, store
    an electronic memory device
    piezoelectric crystal
    a crystal that can be used as a transducer
    power module
    module that provides power to operate other modules
    scheduler
    computer hardware that arranges jobs to be done by the computer in an appropriate order
    sequencer
    computer hardware that sorts data or programs into a predetermined sequence
    upgrade
    hardware that provides better performance than an earlier version did
    addendum
    a thing that is added or will be added
    type of:
    part, portion
    something less than the whole of a human artifact
  2. noun
    an abstract part of something
    “jealousy was a component of his character”
    synonyms: constituent, element, factor, ingredient
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    be all and end all, be-all and end-all
    the essential factor; the all-important element; the supreme aim
    plot element
    a component or element of the plot of a story
    point
    a geometric element that has position but no extension
    counterpoint
    an element, idea, or argument used to create a contrast
    MacGuffin, McGuffin
    (film) a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot
    attracter, attractor
    (physics) a point in the ideal multidimensional phase space that is used to describe a system toward which the system tends to evolve regardless of the starting conditions of the system
    intersection, intersection point, point of intersection
    a point where lines intersect
    intercept
    the point at which a line intersects a coordinate axis
    type of:
    division, part, section
    one of the portions into which something is regarded as divided and which together constitute a whole
  3. noun
    something determined in relation to something that includes it
    “the smaller component is hard to reach”
    synonyms: component part, constituent, moiety, part, portion
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    substance
    the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists
    language unit, linguistic unit
    one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed
    item, point
    a distinct part that can be specified separately in a group of things that could be enumerated on a list
    butt
    the part of a plant from which the roots spring or the part of a stalk or trunk nearest the roots
    base, basis
    the most important or necessary part of something
    detail, item, particular
    a small part that can be considered separately from the whole
    unit
    an individual or group or structure or other entity regarded as a structural or functional constituent of a whole
    member
    anything that belongs to a set or class
    balance, remainder, residual, residue, residuum, rest
    something left after other parts have been taken away
    subpart
    a part of a part
    dregs
    the most worthless or undesirable part of something
    body substance
    the substance of the body
    living substance, protoplasm
    the substance of a living cell (including cytoplasm and nucleus)
    discourse
    extended verbal expression in speech or writing
    word
    a unit of language that native speakers can identify
    syllable
    a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme
    lexeme
    a minimal unit (as a word or stem) in the lexicon of a language; `go' and `went' and `gone' and `going' are all members of the English lexeme `go'
    morpheme
    minimal meaningful language unit; it cannot be divided into smaller meaningful units
    formative
    minimal language unit that has a syntactic (or morphological) function
    name
    a language unit by which a person or thing is known
    agenda item
    one of the items to be considered
    incidental
    an item that is incidental
    inventory item
    an item listed in an inventory
    line item
    an item in an appropriation bill
    news item
    an item in a newspaper
    place, position
    an item on a list or in a sequence
    collocation
    a grouping of words in a sentence
    phone, sound, speech sound
    (phonetics) an individual sound unit of speech without concern as to whether or not it is a phoneme of some language
    sign
    a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified
    high spot, highlight
    the most interesting or memorable part
    dregs, leftover, remnant
    a small part or portion that remains after the main part no longer exists
    chemistry
    the chemical composition and properties of a substance or object
    material, stuff
    the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
    phlogiston
    a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning
    mixture
    (chemistry) a substance consisting of two or more substances mixed together (not in fixed proportions and not with chemical bonding)
    atom
    (physics and chemistry) the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element
    chemical element, element
    any of the more than 100 known substances (of which 92 occur naturally) that cannot be separated into simpler substances and that singly or in combination constitute all matter
    activator
    (biology) any agency bringing about activation; a molecule that increases the activity of an enzyme or a protein that increases the production of a gene product in DNA transcription
    substrate
    the substance that is acted upon by an enzyme or ferment
    element
    one of four substances thought in ancient and medieval cosmology to constitute the physical universe
    medium
    an intervening substance through which something is achieved
    medium
    (biology) a substance in which specimens are preserved or displayed
    fluid
    a substance that is fluid at room temperature and pressure
    volatile
    a volatile substance; a substance that changes readily from solid or liquid to a vapor
    essence
    any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted
    type of:
    relation
    an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together
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