compromise

noun
com·pro·mise | \ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz \

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 a compromised immune system a seriously compromised patient

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from compromise

Verb

compromiser 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After leaving talk shows, Mr. Goldthwait dedicated himself to independent movies, making as few artistic compromises as possible. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, "Bobcat Goldthwait Has Moved On. Why Can’t We Catch Up?," 10 July 2018 Privacy - Terms This tendency toward the middle, toward principled compromise based on common interests and promoted by a local press, is the genius of American democracy. Alberto Ibargüen, star-telegram, "Support local news –it’s crucial to our lives and our democracy," 5 July 2018 In what was seen as a compromise, the council ultimately passed its own version of the ordinance, as well a home rule petition that called for the tougher penalties the mayor proposed. Milton J. Valencia, BostonGlobe.com, "Walsh vetoes city lobbying rules, calling proposal ‘inadequate’," 12 July 2018 The minister also faces an uphill struggle to implement last week’s government compromise, which will involve striking agreements with EU countries to take back asylum seekers who made their first application elsewhere before reaching Germany. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "Germany’s Interior Minister Unveils ‘Master Plan’ to Cut Immigration," 10 July 2018 While the compact design has its compromises, such as a kickstand limited to two positions—the Surface 3 offered three!—it’s still a handy size for anyone who travels frequently. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's $399, 10-inch Surface Go rethinks the Windows tablet for consumers," 9 July 2018 The school district is negotiating with the charters to figure out a compromise, a schools spokesman said. Lois K. Solomon, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Charter schools fight for share of proposed tax," 29 June 2018 For his part, Cantera has floated ideas for compromise, such as inscribing the names of every person buried in the Valley on the exterior portico or displaying the names on a digital screen inside. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 The Rockets ran their stuff, their opponents made (often fatal) compromises, and Harden and Paul feasted against defenders ill-equipped to stop them. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "The LeBron James Experiment: Considering NBA Free Agency Scenarios for The King," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Other systems for disabled access are within the atrium, compromising the arena’s ability to provide access and exposing it to potential legal action. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "8 Reasons To Buy The Atrium, Other Space Outside Hartford's XL Center Arena Now Rather Than Later," 25 June 2018 Atrach compromised the account by resetting Gomez's passwords using information questions, sources with knowledge of the investigation told The Los Angeles Times. CBS News, "Woman charged with hacking Selena Gomez’s email," 13 July 2018 The shutdown also will compromise a range of incentive programs that have emerged over the past decade to improve low-income shoppers' access to healthful food. Jane Black And Leah Douglas, chicagotribune.com, "Some food stamp recipients may soon lose access to farmers market benefits," 12 July 2018 The breach compromised the personal data, including Social Security numbers and credit card information, of 143 million Americans. Alex Soderstrom, ajc, "Macy’s says hackers accessed customer credit card information," 12 July 2018 More personal user data — including users’ dates of birth and genders — was compromised, according to a report from TechCrunch. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Timehop’s data breach included more personal user information than originally announced," 11 July 2018 No resident’s condition was compromised as a result of this unfortunate event. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Assisted Living Employees Allegedly Made Snapchat Video Mocking Dying Stroke Victim, Face Charges," 10 July 2018 People start compromising: After all, people aren’t accusing him of direct abuse. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "When the White House Is a Safe Space," 6 July 2018 The Trump administration has shown no outward willingness to compromise on Iran. Thomas Erdbrink, BostonGlobe.com, "Iran moves to lift its nuclear enrichment capacity," 6 June 2018

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.

See More

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

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

Verb

see compromise entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compromise

Share compromise

Statistics for compromise

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compromise

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on compromise

What made you want to look up compromise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!