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Borrowed from Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare (to weight together one thing against another, balance, make good, later also shorten, spare), from com- (together) + pensare (to weight).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɒmpənseɪt/, /ˈkɒmpɛnseɪt/
  • (file)


compensate (third-person singular simple present compensates, present participle compensating, simple past and past participle compensated)

  1. To do (something good) after (something bad) happens
  2. To pay or reward someone in exchange for work done or some other consideration.
    It is hard work, but they will compensate you well for it.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To make up for; to do something in place of something else; to correct, satisfy; to reach an agreement such that the scales are literally or (metaphorically) balanced; to equalize or make even.
    His loud voice cannot compensate for a lack of personality.
    To compensate me for his tree landing on my shed, my neighbor paved my driveway.
    • Francis Bacon
      The length of the night and the dews thereof do compensate the heat of the day.
    • Prior
      The pleasures of life do not compensate the miseries.
  4. To adjust or adapt to a change, often a harm or deprivation.
    I don't like driving that old car because it always steers a little to the left so I'm forever compensating for that when I drive it. Trust me, it gets annoying real fast.
    To compensate for his broken leg, Gary uses crutches.


1. To pay

2. To make up for, correct, satisfy, or equalize, to balance the scales, to equalize or make even.

3. To adjust to a change.

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Related termsEdit


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