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 More liberal than his Bourbon cousins, Louis-Philippe was a compromise candidate, raised to the throne by business leaders who feared that the revolutionaries would try to institute a republic. Maurice Samuels, Time, "Conspiracy Theories, Class Tension, Political Intrigue: Lessons From France’s Mishandling of a 19th Century Cholera Outbreak," 15 May 2020 But there is very little agreement between the two parties that might yield a compromise bill. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Senate GOP in no hurry for a phase four coronavirus spending bill," 5 May 2020 Don’t let partisanship obscure safe compromises and solutions. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "From Shelley Luther to mail-in voting, ‘war’ against coronavirus hampered by partisan politics," 11 May 2020 Their party was more likely to eschew deadly and costly violence in favor of grudging compromise and coexistence. Caitlin Fitz, The Atlantic, "Conquerors Armed With Spreadsheets," 8 Apr. 2020 Ryan argues that when society makes compromises as various people seek rights (e.g., a gay couple trying to buy a wedding cake from a Christian cake maker), usually the bigoted win. Amitai Etzioni, The New York Review of Books, "Just Say No," 26 Mar. 2020 To him, the Gizmo provides a compromise for his family. Nicole Daniels, New York Times, "Should Parents Track Their Children?," 10 Mar. 2020 House-hunting means making compromises, and one amenity that isn’t always available is a water view. Adrienne Gaffney, WSJ, "For These Five Luxury Homes, Just Add Water," 27 Feb. 2020 Lower power consumption Further Reading Galaxy S10+ review: Too many compromises for the sky-high price A recent Broadcom chipset, the BCM4375, powers the Wi-Fi in Samsung's S10 line of flagship phones. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Wi-Fi 6E isn’t here yet—but Broadcom is clearly banking on it," 13 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Suppliers to the military, such as Xilinx Inc., would be able to use the U.S. fab, but the facility would likely account for less than 5% of revenue so margins won’t be compromised. Ian King, Bloomberg.com, "U.S.-China Fight Over Chip Kingpin Rattles Tech Industry," 20 May 2020 People have volunteered their time and energy to buy groceries and medication for the immuno-compromised. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Strange Comfort of Reading a Pandemic Novel," 13 May 2020 My role as a mom has never compromised my ability or judgement at work. Joyce Kim, Quartz at Work, "I have a new approach to working motherhood now—and a male CEO to thank for it," 29 Apr. 2020 Privacy is of course a concern, but tech companies, academics, and government entities can work together to devise a system that doesn’t compromise privacy. Paul Hudson, Fortune, "Sanofi CEO: How we can prevent being caught off guard by a pandemic like the coronavirus ever again," 23 Apr. 2020 Congressional Democrats and Republicans could not compromise on how an additional $250 billion in emergency funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should be allotted. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact Check: Support for $5 billion in Iran aid isn't holding up additional stimulus money," 17 Apr. 2020 The first hour is reserved for senior, disabled or immune-compromised customers to peruse the state’s oldest farmers markets offerings. Arizona Republic, "These metro Phoenix farmers markets are open during the coronavirus pandemic," 27 Mar. 2020 But the blanket’s thinness doesn’t compromise quality — its fabric is made with high-density sewing technology to ensure it’s sturdy enough to keep the beads from leaking. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "13 Best Weighted Blankets in 2020: From Budget-Friendly to Organic," 25 Mar. 2020 Part of the challenge of working at such an accelerated pace is ensuring that safety is not compromised. NBC News, "Scientists, under pressure, try to balance speed and safety on coronavirus vaccine research," 21 Mar. 2020

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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compromise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compromise. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for compromise

compromise

noun
How to pronounce compromise (audio)

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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