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

Blease’s law The law dates to 1929, proposed by a white supremacist senator who wanted to broker a compromise between forces seeking to close the border entirely and business interests demanding access to migrant labor. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Julian Castro would repeal illegal entry as a crime. Is that an 'open borders' policy?," 6 July 2019 In a potential compromise, Lamont released a new idea that day for a small cut in the state income tax as part of the package for tolls. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "State legislature expected to return July 22 to vote on construction money for towns and cities," 6 July 2019 During his 12 years in the Senate, Mr. Sanders, 77, has voted in favor of virtually every major piece of legislation, procedural motion or budget compromise pitched by his leaders — especially when his no vote would have affected the outcome. Glenn Thrush, New York Times, "Outsider or Insider? How Bernie Sanders Learned to Walk the Line," 6 July 2019 Privately, Carson was edging towards an exclusionist compromise. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Off The Shelf: The Wrong Dubliner?," 5 July 2019 As a result, last November the SANDAG board of directors postponed a decision and gave the owners six months to continue to work on a compromise. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Parties reach consensus on saltwater option for Buena Vista Lagoon," 5 July 2019 This controversy illustrates some of the most uncomfortable and persistently polarizing questions facing French people: What compromises can reasonably be asked of religious minorities in the name of secularism? Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "France’s “Muslim Rosa Parks” are reviving the debate over burkinis," 4 July 2019 But thanks to another of the backroom (unsavory, some might say) deals that have long been the hallmark of European politics, Von der Leyen became the common-denominator compromise choice to lead the European Union’s executive arm in Brussels. Erik Kirschbaum, latimes.com, "She's about to be one of the most powerful women in Europe. Who is Ursula von der Leyen?," 3 July 2019 Incentives, a romantic gesture and compromise are encouraged. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: July 3, 2019," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What continues to be overlooked in the rhetoric surrounding this matter is the fact that patient safety was compromised. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Union goes to the feds over UC Health's firing, discipline of nurses," 1 July 2019 But over the years, the Church of Kuñotambo became dangerously compromised by earthquakes that are common in this mountainous region of Peru, leading to the building’s closure in 2005. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Pioneering Conservation Project Saves Earthquake-Damaged Peruvian Church," 28 June 2019 Truths of the Catholic faith should not be compromised in an attempt to accommodate indigenous peoples in South America. Declan Leary, National Review, "The Problem with Trying to Make Catholicism Relatable in the Amazon," 25 June 2019 The boy's he's been emailing is now compromised, too. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "15+ Young Adult Audiobooks For When You Want To Give Music a Break," 18 June 2019 Often one element is noticeably compromised: the ideas are watered down, or the story is sensational rather than deeply felt, no more than a soap opera or a boy’s adventure. Caleb Crain, The New York Review of Books, "Idea Man," 17 June 2019 Some parts of it will be compromised, some will be improved, added, or subtracted. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 After subsequent births, the pain can be more intense since the uterine muscles have been compromised. Kristi Kellogg, Glamour, "Your Vagina After Birth: 10 Things to Expect," 29 Apr. 2019 In his hard-line views on immigration, his traditionalist instincts on cultural issues, and his willingness to compromise the Justice Department’s independence, Kelly turned out to bear a great deal of resemblance to Trump himself. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "John Kelly is out as White House chief of staff, Trump announces," 8 Dec. 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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Statistics for compromise

Last Updated

10 Jul 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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