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 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 This heated environment leads to unnatural compromises, particularly for journalists. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "John Bolton Is Trying to Make a Buck. So is Everyone Else in Washington.," 29 Jan. 2020 The leader of the Senate Commerce Committee, GOP Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.), had been negotiating with Cantwell on a compromise for months. Washington Post, "Top Senate Democrats unveil new online privacy bill, promising tough penalties for data abuse," 26 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Trustees whose source of wealth appears more than usually morally compromised are being forced out, like the Whitney’s Warren Kanders, whose company Safariland sells tear-gas grenades. Kyle Chayka, The New Republic, "When Art Becomes Self-Help," 24 Apr. 2020 Another risk is that India’s worst-in the-world air pollution and high rates of hypertension and diabetes have compromised young people’s health, meaning that mortality from the virus could be higher than expected. Ari Altstedter, Fortune, "Why scientists are touting coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ for India when it didn’t work for the U.K.," 22 Apr. 2020 South Korea’s approach to COVID-19 with its focus on technology suggests a possible path for the U.S. in reopening the country without having to subject citizens to the coercive authority of the state and compromise our democratic ideal. Michael Ahn, The Conversation, "How South Korea flattened the coronavirus curve with technology," 21 Apr. 2020 Having compromised himself on behalf of his government by doing intelligence work in Vietnam, Holliwell is involuntarily drawn to repeat the mistake in the imaginary country of Tecan. George Packer, The Atlantic, "A Novelist’s Ambition to Define America," 18 Apr. 2020 Developers of a currency wallet called CoPay incorporated the malicious library into updates and warned that any private keys trusted with the tainted versions should be considered compromised. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Supply-chain attack hits RubyGems repository with 725 malicious packages," 17 Apr. 2020 To protect vulnerable citizens like people with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions, states moving to restart their economies should make accommodations for select employees and encourage working from home, Birx said. Lev Facher, STAT, "Trump outlines ‘phases’ for reopening states once coronavirus cases begin to decline," 16 Apr. 2020 Characters have lost WiFi and others have frozen in compromising facial expressions. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "'A Midsummer Night's Dream' shattered? Hardly. This Kentucky high school show will go on," 15 Apr. 2020 The donation covered the total purchases made by shoppers from 6 to 7:30 a.m. on Friday at the Provincetown Stop and Shop, a time set aside for elderly and immuno-compromised shoppers to buy their groceries. Fox News, "Anonymous donor in Massachusetts pays for $5,000 in groceries for elderly, compromised shoppers," 12 Apr. 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

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compromise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compromise. Accessed 25 May. 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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