Definition of compensate
1 : to be equivalent to : counterbalance Her virtues compensate her faults.
2 : to make an appropriate and usually counterbalancing payment to compensate the victims for their loss
3a : to provide with means of counteracting variation compensate a magnetic needleb : to neutralize the effect of (variations)
1 : to supply an equivalent —used with for … compensate for his feelings of loneliness by assertions of superiority. — W. H. Auden
2 : to offset an error, defect, or undesired effect his enthusiasm compensates for his lack of skill
3 : to undergo or engage in psychological or physiological compensation His aggression was an attempt to compensate for inherent passivity.
compensativeplay \ˈkäm-pən-ˌsā-tiv, -ˌpen-; kəm-ˈpen(t)-sə-\ adjective
compensatorplay \ˈkäm-pən-ˌsā-tər, -ˌpen-\ noun
compensatoryplay \kəm-ˈpen(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
Examples of compensate in a sentence
His enthusiasm compensates for his lack of skill.
The price of the item has been reduced to compensate for a defect.
compensate workers for their labor
She was not compensated for the damage done to her car.
Origin and Etymology of compensate
Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare, frequentative of compendere —see compendium
First Known Use: 1646
Synonym Discussion of compensate
COMPENSATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of compensate for English Language Learners
: to provide something good as a balance against something bad or undesirable : to make up for some defect or weakness
: to give money or something else of value to (someone) in return for something (such as work) or as payment for something lost, damaged, etc.
COMPENSATE Defined for Kids
Definition of compensate for Students
1 : to make up for The Captain … compensating for the tremor in his hands, slowly lifted his own cup … — Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
2 : to give money to make up for something The factory will compensate an injured worker.
Medical Definition of compensate
Legal Definition of compensate
: to make an appropriate and usually counterbalancing payment to compensate the victims for their injuries adequately compensated for her work
compensatory\kəm-ˈpen-sə-ˌtōr-ē\ play adjective
Seen and Heard
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