compromise

1 of 2

noun

com·​pro·​mise ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz How to pronounce compromise (audio)
1
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

compromised; compromising

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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

1
a
: 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
compromiser noun

Example Sentences

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
At a recent breakfast with the council and mayor, Allen said the long process included moments of compromise and collaboration between local agencies and advocates who frequently have differing views on criminal justice policy. Omari Daniels, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2022 The payments represent a compromise between Lamont and progressive Democrats on the Legislature’s tax-writing panel. Hartford Courant, 26 Oct. 2022 Extending the race would empower Bolsonaro rather than affording time and space for the compromise and negotiation between adversaries that usually happens between the first and second round of voting. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, 5 Oct. 2022 Hybrid work has been touted as the best of both worlds by some, a compromise between the employees that want to remain working at home and the executives pushing for a full-fledged return to the office. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 3 Oct. 2022 The new laws reflect a compromise between labor unions and housing developers. Adam Beam, ajc, 28 Sep. 2022 The Razer Blade 15 Advanced offers a great compromise between portability and performance. Chris Hachey, BGR, 27 Sep. 2022 The climate bill, a compromise between conservative Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, was celebrated nationally by conservation groups. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Sep. 2022 This is a trait common to Ford power brake systems, and a better compromise between the touchy Dearborn system and the old GT 350 leg-buster could be worked out. Car and Driver, 14 Sep. 2022
Verb
According to a blog post posted by the company, Russia engaged in attempts to compromise IT firms in order to disrupt or gain intelligence from those firms’ government agency customers in NATO member countries. PCMAG, 5 Nov. 2022 As schools figure out the best way to address their immediate needs for attracting and retaining quality talent, new hires like Nadeau are forced to compromise. Nic Querolo, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Oct. 2022 Republicans are trying to have it both ways, refusing to compromise while avoiding political responsibility for an uncompromising position. Nicholas Tomaino, WSJ, 28 Oct. 2022 In a statement, O’Dea contended that the credit had expired because Bennet had failed to compromise on issues such as a work requirement and targeting the benefit, as Manchin had mandated in order to garner his support. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 10 Oct. 2022 With a City Council that could be moving further to the left and less inclined to compromise on Bass’ or anyone else’s agenda. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2022 The ability of citizens and leaders to compromise and find common ground has always been central to a robust and thriving democracy. Helen Lee Bouygues, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 The message, very loud and clear, is that this—the hijab—is one of the pillars of the Islamic Republic, and the government is not going to compromise. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2022 Such naked appeals to the party’s base require appearing tough and impervious to criticism, reluctant to compromise. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 30 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near compromise

Cite this Entry

“Compromise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compromise. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

compromise 1 of 2

noun

com·​pro·​mise ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz How to pronounce compromise (audio)
1
: a settlement of a dispute by each party giving up some demands
2
: a giving up to something that is wrong or degrading : surrender
a compromise of one's principles
3
: the thing agreed upon as a result of a compromise

compromise

2 of 2

verb

compromised; compromising
1
: to adjust or settle differences by means of a compromise
2
: to expose to disgrace, suspicion, or danger
compromised his reputation
compromise security
compromiser noun

Medical Definition

compromise 1 of 2

transitive verb

com·​pro·​mise ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz How to pronounce compromise (audio)
compromised; compromising
: to cause the impairment of
certain chemical agents may compromise placental function
a compromised immune system

compromise

2 of 2

noun

: the condition of having been compromised : impairment
cardiovascular compromise
patients at risk for airway compromise David Jaffe et al.

Legal Definition

compromise 1 of 2

noun

com·​pro·​mise
: an agreement resolving differences by mutual concessions especially to prevent or end a lawsuit

compromise

2 of 2

verb

compromised; compromising

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

More from Merriam-Webster on compromise

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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