compensate

play
verb com·pen·sate \ ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt , -ˌpen- \

Definition of compensate

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

play \ˈkäm-pən-ˌsā-tiv, -ˌpen-; kəm-ˈpen(t)-sə-\ adjective

compensator

play \ˈkäm-pən-ˌsā-tər, -ˌpen-\ noun

compensatory

play \kəm-ˈpen(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Examples of compensate in a Sentence

  1. His enthusiasm compensates for his lack of skill.

  2. The price of the item has been reduced to compensate for a defect.

  3. compensate workers for their labor

  4. She was not compensated for the damage done to her car.

Recent Examples of compensate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of compensate

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

compensate Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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


COMPENSATE Defined for English Language Learners

compensate

play
verb

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

compensate

play
verb com·pen·sate \ ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt \

Definition of compensate for Students

compensated; compensating
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 Dictionary

compensate

play
verb com·pen·sate \ ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt, -ˌpen- \

medical Definition of compensate

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

Law Dictionary

compensate

play
transitive verb com·pen·sate \ ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt, -ˌpen- \

legal Definition of compensate

compensated; compensating
:to make an appropriate and usually counterbalancing payment to
  • compensate the victims for their injuries
  • adequately compensated for her work

compensatory

play \kəm-ˈpen-sə-ˌtōr-ē\ adjective


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