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From Middle French compromis, from Medieval Latin, Late Latin compromissum (a compromise, originally a mutual promise to refer to arbitration), prop. neuter of Latin compromissus, past participle of compromittere (to make a mutual promise to abide by the decision of an arbiter), from com- (together) + promittere (to promise); see promise.



compromise (countable and uncountable, plural compromises)

  1. The settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions.
    • c. 1595, William Shakespeare, King Richard the Second
      But basely yielded upon compromise / That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows.
    • (Can we date this quote by Burke and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.
    • (Can we date this quote by Hallam and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      An abhorrence of concession and compromise is a never failing characteristic of religious factions.
  2. A committal to something derogatory or objectionable; a prejudicial concession; a surrender.
    a compromise of character or right
    • (Can we date this quote by Lamb and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      I was determined not to accept any fine speeches, to the compromise of that sex the belonging to which was, after all, my strongest claim and title to them.
  3. In data security, a violation of the security system such that an unauthorized disclosure or loss of sensitive information may have occurred, or the unauthorized disclosure or loss itself.
    • Dennis Longley, Michael Shain, William Caelli, Information Security: Dictionary of Concepts, Standards and Terms, Stockton Press, New York (NY), 1992

Related termsEdit


Further readingEdit


compromise (third-person singular simple present compromises, present participle compromising, simple past and past participle compromised)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To bind by mutual agreement.
  2. To adjust and settle by mutual concessions; to compound.
    • (Can we date this quote by Fuller and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The controversy may easily be compromised.
  3. (intransitive) To find a way between extremes.
  4. To pledge by some act or declaration; to endanger the life, reputation, etc., of, by some act which can not be recalled; to expose to suspicion.
    • (Can we date this quote by Motley and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      To pardon all who had been compromised in the late disturbances.
  5. (transitive) To cause impairment of.
  6. (transitive) To breach (a security system).
    He tried to compromise the security in the computer by guessing the password.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further readingEdit





  1. third-person singular past historic of compromettere