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 compromiser (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

Eight years of growing frustration later from Philip (and his uncle, Louis Mountbatten, who also strongly disliked the decision), royal couple reached a compromise. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why Queen Elizabeth II's Last Name Sparked A Lot of Drama With Prince Philip," 4 Feb. 2019 No one was talking about what a policy debate with Democrats could look like and Trump isn’t interested in compromise. Tara Golshan, Vox, "This could be a really long government shutdown," 21 Dec. 2018 Taxes are a constant, but if President Trump raises taxes next year in a compromise with the Pelosi Democrats, don’t expect the Beltway press to give him the same praise 41 is getting this week for reversing his no-new-taxes pledge. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump Didn’t Kill the Bush Values," 5 Dec. 2018 Here’s The Simply Money Point: The first step in financial compromise is communication. Nathan Bachrach, Cincinnati.com, "How to deal with a 'forced retirement'," 27 June 2018 Yet Alexander was already eyeing the next opportunities for compromise. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Lamar Alexander, pillar of Washington’s old guard, is retiring from the Senate," 17 Dec. 2018 The City-County Council is working on a compromise that would allow electric scooter companies to keep doing business in Indianapolis under a new set of regulations. Megan Henry, Indianapolis Star, "Electric scooters one step closer to operating under proposed regulations," 28 June 2018 Republican lawmakers searching for a compromise to stop the practice of separating parents and children at the U.S.-Mexican border were just thrown for a loop when President Donald Trump demanded $25 billion for a border wall. Philip Elliott, Time, "President Trump Is Demanding $25 Billion for a Border Wall Amid Outcry Over Family Separation," 19 June 2018 By opposing pension reform, Brenda and his allies diminish the prospects for such a compromise, to the detriment of future teachers and students alike. Reihan Salam, The Atlantic, "The GOP’s Public-Education Dilemma," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Be aware that the taste and texture of the avocado will be somewhat compromised—basically, don't expect this option to produce the same fresh-tasting avocado as the bag method. Amy Mitchell, Country Living, "How to Ripen an Avocado Fast," 3 May 2019 And while the planet, and the living organisms that inhabit it, are being compromised by all kinds of pollution, plastic waste has steadily emerged as a sobering global crisis. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "5 Big Beauty Brands That Are Tackling the Industry’s Plastic Problem," 22 Apr. 2019 Even if the transaction is compromised somehow, your actual credit card information remains safe because it is never exposed. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "6 Ways You Put Your Data at Risk When You Travel," 6 Dec. 2018 Lynn Reaser, Point Loma Nazarene University YES: Companies and investors need to have a long-term focus, which is compromised by providing guidance on quarterly earnings. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Should companies end quarterly earnings guidance?," 15 June 2018 No matter the cause, always seek emergency care if your ability to breathe is compromised in an alarming way. 2. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "When to Go to Urgent Care Vs. the ER," 16 Feb. 2019 Over the weekend, Senator Chuck Schumer and fellow lawmakers called for Marriott to cover the $110 new passport fee for anyone who's info was compromised. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "After Data Breach, Marriott Will Pay for New Passports," 5 Dec. 2018 That meant not only removing extensions, but also making sure the integrity of Dee's own hair wasn't compromised in the process — not always an easy thing to do. Marci Robin, Allure, "How Colorist Rebecca Taylor Pulled Off This Stunning Transformation on a Client’s Stubborn Blue Hair," 6 Oct. 2018 The measure was strictly precautionary and follows normal protocol when large troves of data are compromised. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "New Facebook Data Breach Affects 50 Million Users," 28 Sep. 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.

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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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Learn More about compromise

Statistics for compromise

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compromise

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

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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

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Comments on compromise

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