compromise

noun
com·​pro·​mise | \ ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz How to pronounce compromise (audio) \

Definition of compromise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
2 : a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial a compromise of principles

compromise

verb
compromised; compromising

Definition of compromise (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to come to agreement by mutual concession The two sides were unwilling to compromise. The union and employer agreed to compromise.
b : to find or follow a way between extremes
2 : to make a shameful or disreputable concession wouldn't compromise with their principles

transitive verb

1a : to reveal or expose to an unauthorized person and especially to an enemy Confidential information was compromised.
b : to cause the impairment of illnesses that can seriously compromise the immune system If you don't acknowledge the parent at all, you risk seeming unnecessarily hostile or dismissive but if you allow the parent to govern decisions you could compromise the patient.— Ranjana Srivastava
c : to expose to suspicion, discredit, or mischief His reputation has been compromised.
2 : to adjust or settle by mutual concessions An arbiter was brought in to compromise their differences.
3 obsolete : to bind by mutual agreement

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Other Words from compromise

Verb

compromiser \ ˈkäm-​prə-​ˌmī-​zər How to pronounce compromise (audio) \ noun

Examples of compromise in a Sentence

Noun "You can't always come up with the optimal solution, but you can usually come up with a better solution," he [Barack Obama] said over lunch one afternoon. "A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence." — William Finnegan, New Yorker, 31 May 2004 I therefore proposed a … strategy that raised the possibility of compromise — Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect, 1995 I've had other films that were successful, but I'm aware of the compromises I made—and they were tremendous. — Woody Allen, Rolling Stone, 16 Sept. 1993 In his promotion of burgeoning black writers, however, Hughes made no compromises. — Rita Dove, New York Times Book Review, 9 Oct. 1988 the art of political compromise To avoid an argument, always be ready to seek compromise. a director who will not tolerate artistic compromise She says that accepting their proposal would be a compromise of her principles. Verb You don't make deals that compromise yourself or your team, of course, but you help other riders if you can, so they might return the favor. — Lance Armstrong, It's Not About the Bike, (2000) 2001 The book is compromised by the author's lack of selectivity. — Amy Hempel, Ms., October/November 1999 Our plan had been to pass a good balanced budget without compromising its essential components … — Tony Blankley, George, September 1997 Lieutenant Charon would get a pat on the back from his captain … not to mention congratulations for running such a quiet and effective operation that had not compromised his informants … — Tom Clancy, Without Remorse, 1994 Finally, the two sides compromised and a treaty was signed … — Alfredo Quarto, Cultural Survival Quarterly, 1990 The two sides were unwilling to compromise. We can't reveal that information without compromising national security. a dangerous drug that can further compromise an already weakened immune system
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The three-fifths compromise was an agreement adopted in 1787 between Northern and Southern states that three-fifths, or 60%, of slave populations would be counted to determine representation in the House of Representatives and government finances. Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN, "Tennessee lawmaker falsely suggests infamous 3/5ths compromise was to help end slavery," 5 May 2021 Republicans and Democrats alike hailed passage of the bill on an 89-to-2 vote as evidence that bipartisan compromise is possible on infrastructure initiatives, but lawmakers in both parties suggested that the spirit of deal-making could be fleeting. New York Times, "Senate Passes $35 Billion Water Bill, but Bigger Infrastructure Fights Loom," 29 Apr. 2021 But even where more reasonable compromise is possible, problems abound. Ezra Klein New York Times, Star Tribune, "The case against bipartisanship," 29 Apr. 2021 While breaking through the logjam remains a struggle, there are signs that a compromise could be afoot -- particularly with the stickiest of issues -- the sweeping legal protection federal officers enjoy against lawsuits known as qualified immunity. Trish Turner, ABC News, "Key lawmakers work on policing reform compromise in wake of the Chauvin conviction," 21 Apr. 2021 Lawmakers and the White House are holding a series of meetings to determine whether a bipartisan compromise is possible, with a group of Senate Republicans working on a counteroffer of roughly $600 billion to $800 billion. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Biden to Back Temporary Extension of Larger Child Tax Credit," 20 Apr. 2021 The compromise is easy: Lose the water feature, keep the existing grass, design a temporary stage and let Sugimoto go ahead with his stacked stone wall. Washington Post, "How a rock wall and pool of water have thrown a wrench into the redesign of Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden," 16 Apr. 2021 There’s never a definite answer, because compromise is inevitable where relationships are concerned. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, "Watch Miranda Lambert’s Acoustic ‘Settling Down’," 2 Apr. 2021 In the end, a hard-fought compromise kicked 170,000 off the rolls. al, "The Tennessee Trap: How one state’s war on Medicaid fraud ensnares working moms in Alabama," 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There are certain things that just the industry as a whole has had to compromise on. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "Compliance Helps Ensure Covid-Relief Pledges Are Met, Sallie Mae’s Compliance Chief Says," 20 Apr. 2021 Professional musicians, as mentioned, do not want to compromise sound and are most likely to want something of high-quality and superior craftsmanship. Ivana Chavez, chicagotribune.com, "How much should I spend on a guitar?," 18 Apr. 2021 While a path to compromise on climate change has yet to emerge, lawmakers appear poised to make a deal on how to build out the state’s new sports betting industry. Washington Post, "As Maryland lawmakers wrap up session, here’s what’s left," 11 Apr. 2021 Russia was not prepared to compromise on the Navalny case. Anton Troianovski, BostonGlobe.com, "Russia expels European diplomats over Navalny protests, defying the West," 6 Feb. 2021 For those unwilling to compromise on crystal clear picture quality. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Top Rated Outdoor TVs for the Best Backyard Experience," 9 Apr. 2021 While there's still time and space to broker a deal, Biden will likely have to compromise on his 28% corporate tax rate bottom line — with Manchin and several other centrist Senate Democrats. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Does Biden really know Congress as well as he says? Tax plan suggests maybe not," 7 Apr. 2021 For starters, that price point indicates that Qualcomm might have to compromise on specs. Chris Smith, BGR, "Qualcomm is making a Nintendo Switch clone of its own," 24 Mar. 2021 But the government might have to compromise with further Senate amendments. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, "Australia to amend laws to make Google and Facebook pay," 16 Feb. 2021

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

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First Known Use of compromise

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for compromise

Noun and Verb

Middle English, mutual promise to abide by an arbiter's decision, from Anglo-French compromisse, from Latin compromissum, from neuter of compromissus, past participle of compromittere to promise mutually, from com- + promittere to promise — more at promise

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Time Traveler for compromise

Time Traveler

The first known use of compromise was in the 15th century

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Statistics for compromise

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Compromise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compromise. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for compromise

compromise

noun

English Language Learners Definition of compromise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute
: something that combines the qualities of two different things
: a change that makes something worse and that is not done for a good reason

compromise

verb

English Language Learners Definition of compromise (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give up something that you want in order to reach an agreement : to settle differences by means of a compromise
: to expose (something) to risk or danger
: to damage or weaken (something)

compromise

noun
com·​pro·​mise | \ ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz How to pronounce compromise (audio) \

Kids Definition of compromise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an agreement over a dispute reached by each side changing or giving up some demands After much argument, they finally reached a compromise.
2 : something agreed upon as a result of each side changing or giving up some demands Our compromise is to take turns with the toy.

compromise

verb
compromised; compromising

Kids Definition of compromise (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to settle by agreeing that each side will change or give up some demands
2 : to expose to risk, suspicion, or disgrace A spy can compromise national security.

compromise

transitive verb
com·​pro·​mise | \ ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz How to pronounce compromise (audio) \
compromised; compromising

Medical Definition of compromise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause the impairment of certain chemical agents may compromise placental function a compromised immune system

compromise

noun

Medical Definition of compromise (Entry 2 of 2)

: the condition of having been compromised : impairment cardiovascular compromise patients at risk for airway compromise— David Jaffe et al.

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compromise

noun
com·​pro·​mise

Legal Definition of compromise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an agreement resolving differences by mutual concessions especially to prevent or end a lawsuit

compromise

verb
compromised; compromising

Legal Definition of compromise (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to resolve or dispose of by a compromise cases in which a dispute is compromised— E. A. Farnsworth and W. F. Young

intransitive verb

: to enter into a compromise

Comments on compromise

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