adjective com·men·su·rate \kə-ˈmen(t)s-rət, -ˈmen(t)sh-; -ˈmen(t)-sə-, -shə-\

Definition of commensurate

  1. 1 :  equal in measure or extent :  coextensive lived a life commensurate with the early years of the republic

  2. 2 :  corresponding in size, extent, amount, or degree :  proportionate was given a job commensurate with her abilities

  3. 3 :  commensurable 1




play \kə-ˌmen(t)-sə-ˈrā-shən, -shə-\ noun

commensurate was our Word of the Day on 09/25/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of commensurate in a sentence

  1. … athletes are rewarded commensurate with their fame, not their intrinsic talent … —Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 21 Dec. l987

  2. Because the effects of tobacco are slow—and iterative—and produce diseases that have other causes and explanations, often later in life, they seldom arouse fear commensurate with their impact. —Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, (2007) 2009

  3. I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed. —Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969

  4. The last of the string family, the double bass, is the largest of all and must be played standing. Because it is seen in jazz bands, it has recently taken on an importance more nearly commensurate with its size. —Aaron Copland, What to Listen for in Music, (1957) 1988

  5. Her new position came with a commensurate level of responsibility.

  6. was given a job commensurate with her abilities and experience

Did You Know?

Commensurate is a word that really measures up. And no wonder - it's a descendant of the Latin noun mensura, meaning "measure," from "mensus," past participle of "metiri" ("to measure"). In the first recorded use of "commensurate," which comes from 1641, the adjective was used as a synonym of "coextensive." It didn't take long for "commensurate" to be used to mean "proportionate" as well. Henry James used this sense in The American when he wrote, "The stakes were high and the risk was great; the prize therefore must have been commensurate."

Origin and Etymology of commensurate

Late Latin commensuratus, from Latin com- + Late Latin mensuratus, past participle of mensurare to measure, from Latin mensura measure — more at measure

First Known Use: 1641

COMMENSURATE Defined for English Language Learners


adjective com·men·su·rate \kə-ˈmen(t)s-rət, -ˈmen(t)sh-; -ˈmen(t)-sə-, -shə-\

Definition of commensurate for English Language Learners

  • : equal or similar to something in size, amount, or degree

Seen and Heard

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to cast off or become cast off

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