compensate

verb

com·​pen·​sate ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt How to pronounce compensate (audio)
-ˌpen-
compensated; compensating

transitive verb

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
3
a
: to provide with means of counteracting variation
compensate a magnetic needle
b
: to neutralize the effect of (variations)

intransitive verb

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.
compensative adjective
compensator noun
compensatory adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for compensate

pay, compensate, remunerate, satisfy, reimburse, indemnify, repay, recompense mean to give money or its equivalent in return for something.

pay implies the discharge of an obligation incurred.

paid their bills

compensate implies a making up for services rendered.

an attorney well compensated for her services

remunerate clearly suggests paying for services rendered and may extend to payment that is generous or not contracted for.

promised to remunerate the searchers handsomely

satisfy implies paying a person what is required by law.

all creditors will be satisfied in full

reimburse implies a return of money that has been spent for another's benefit.

reimbursed employees for expenses

indemnify implies making good a loss suffered through accident, disaster, warfare.

indemnified the families of the dead miners

repay stresses paying back an equivalent in kind or amount.

repay a favor with a favor

recompense suggests due return in amends, friendly repayment, or reward.

passengers were recompensed for the delay

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Though all these winners were clearly deserving, the Globes has a lot more work to do to compensate for its racist past. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 11 Jan. 2023 The loss came despite Jimmy Butler stepping up his game to compensate for an off night from Tyler Herro, and with Bam Adebayo again providing consistent post play. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 5 Jan. 2023 But that’s further propelled inflation, as companies raised prices to compensate for the higher labor costs. Jane Thier, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2023 The company agreed to pay €50 million for roads, playgrounds and sports facilities to compensate local governments. Stanley Reed Matilde Viegas, New York Times, 3 Jan. 2023 Going remote gives students a certain amount of flexibility to compensate for things that happen in real life, like catching the flu or getting a flat tire. Rhett Allain, WIRED, 29 Dec. 2022 Vavra is in many ways a younger version of Frazier, with perhaps a better eye but similarly possessing strong bat-to-ball skills to compensate for a lack of power. Nathan Ruiz, Baltimore Sun, 19 Dec. 2022 As for his health now, Rosbach says that extensive physical therapy helped strengthen his muscle to compensate for the nerve damage, which is still healing. Dave Quinn, Peoplemag, 19 Dec. 2022 Chagrin Falls Village Employees will receive 2% of their salary at the end of this year to compensate for the past year’s historic inflation. Matt Leavitt, cleveland, 15 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compensate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare, frequentative of compendere — see compendium

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of compensate was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near compensate

Cite this Entry

“Compensate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compensate. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

compensate

verb
com·​pen·​sate ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt How to pronounce compensate (audio)
compensated; compensating
1
: to be equal to in value or effect : counterbalance
2
: to make up for
effort that compensates for lack of skill
3
: to make equal return to : pay
compensate workers for their labor
compensatory adjective

Medical Definition

compensate

verb
com·​pen·​sate ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt, -ˌpen- How to pronounce compensate (audio)
compensated; compensating

transitive verb

: to subject to or remedy by physiological compensation
compensated hypertensive patients

intransitive verb

: to undergo, experience, or engage in psychological or physiological compensation
his aggression was an attempt to compensate for inherent passivity

Legal Definition

compensate

transitive verb
com·​pen·​sate ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt, -ˌpen- How to pronounce compensate (audio)
compensated; compensating
: to make an appropriate and usually counterbalancing payment to
compensate the victims for their injuries
adequately compensated for her work
compensatory adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on compensate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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