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rec·​om·​pense ˈre-kəm-ˌpen(t)s How to pronounce recompense (audio)
recompensed; recompensing

transitive verb

: to give something to by way of compensation (as for a service rendered or damage incurred)
: to pay for
: to return in kind : requite


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: an equivalent or a return for something done, suffered, or given : compensation
offered in recompense for injuries
Choose the Right Synonym for recompense

pay, compensate, remunerate, satisfy, reimburse, indemnify, repay, recompense mean to give money or its equivalent in return for something.

pay implies the discharge of an obligation incurred.

paid their bills

compensate implies a making up for services rendered.

an attorney well compensated for her services

remunerate clearly suggests paying for services rendered and may extend to payment that is generous or not contracted for.

promised to remunerate the searchers handsomely

satisfy implies paying a person what is required by law.

all creditors will be satisfied in full

reimburse implies a return of money that has been spent for another's benefit.

reimbursed employees for expenses

indemnify implies making good a loss suffered through accident, disaster, warfare.

indemnified the families of the dead miners

repay stresses paying back an equivalent in kind or amount.

repay a favor with a favor

recompense suggests due return in amends, friendly repayment, or reward.

passengers were recompensed for the delay

Example Sentences

Verb the cash-strapped museum can recompense lecturers with only token honorariums that company still needs to recompense the work that the contractor finished last month Noun He is asking for a just recompense for the work he's done. He received $10,000 in recompense for his injuries.
Recent Examples on the Web
European countries like Germany and the UK have shored up money for their violent role in suppressing Namibian and Kenyan protests, but the Netherlands is the first to publicly acknowledge and recompense for slavery. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 23 Sep. 2022 That date is when the Biden administration's requirement that private insurance companies recompense those who buy over-the-counter COVID tests goes into effect. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 10 Jan. 2022 In a professional setting, a favorable recommendation for a job well done — while certainly appreciated — should not be recompensed with a present. Judith Martin, Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2019
There are laws setting out wages for laborers, and recompense for fires and other damages. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 1 Dec. 2020 The bank is ordered to make about $275 million in recompense to affected mortgage customers. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2022 Both arguably have intellectual merit, but one is far more valuable in personal recompense. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 30 July 2013 The civil litigation over these schemes will take up vast judicial, regulatory, and prosecutorial resources, and most of this cost will ultimately be borne by U.S. taxpayers without any realistic prospect of financial recompense. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 Then, warm weather lovers can likely get recompense by Tuesday. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 2 Aug. 2022 The recompense for those who can manage all this can be substantial. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 26 July 2022 Given the growth of money over time, an investor would put that life’s current value at around four hundred thousand dollars, or, for a five-per-cent share, twenty thousand dollars—small recompense for a piece of one’s lifelong daily work. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, 25 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recompense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French recompenser, from Late Latin recompensare, from Latin re- + compensare to compensate

First Known Use


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


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near recompense

Cite this Entry

“Recompense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


recompensed; recompensing
: to pay for or pay back
recompense noun

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