late 14c., opposen, "to speak or act against; accuse, question, interrogate," from Old French oposer "oppose, resist, rival; contradict, state opposing point of view" (12c.), apparently from assimilated form of Latin ob- "in the direction of, in front of" (see ob-) + French poser "to place, lay down" (see pose (v.1)), with the sense blended with that of Latin opponere "oppose, object to, set against" (see opponent). The meaning "to set or place over against or directly opposite" (transitive) and "interpose effort or objection, be adverse, act adversely" (intransitive) are from 1590s. Related: Opposed; opposing.
"to puzzle, confuse, perplex," 1590s, earlier "to put questions to, interrogate closely" (1520s), probably from French poser "suppose, assume," from Old French poser "to put, place, set" (see pose (v.1)). Also in some cases a shortening of English appose "examine closely," and directly from oppose (of which appose was a variant). Related: Posed; posing.
c. 1400, compousen, "to write" (a book), from Old French composer "put together, compound; adjust, arrange; write" a work (12c.), from com- "with, together" (see com-) + poser "to place," from Late Latin pausare "to cease, lay down" (see pause (n.)).
Meaning influenced in Old French by componere "to arrange, direct" (see composite; also see compound (v.), pose (v.)), which gradually was replaced in French by composer. Similar confusion is found in expose, oppose, repose (v.2), transpose, etc.
Meaning "to make or form by uniting two or more things" is from late 15c. Sense of "be the substance or elements of, make up" is from 1540s. Sense of "invent and put (music) into proper form" is from 1590s. From c. 1600 as "bring into a composed state, to cal, quiet;" from 1650s as "place (parts or elements) in proper form, arrange."
In painting, "combine into an arrangement with artistic effect" (1782). In printing, "put into type" (1630s), but the usual term among printers was set. Related: Composed; composing. The printers' composing room is from 1737.
"oppose, hinder," mid-13c., from thwart (adv.). Related: Thwarted; thwarting.
"military or other action taken to oppose a revolution or revolt," 1962, from counter- + insurgency.