Definition of compensate in US English:



  • 1with object Give (someone) something, typically money, in recognition of loss, suffering, or injury incurred; recompense.

    ‘payments were made to farmers to compensate them for cuts in subsidies’
    • ‘The insurers then claimed the sum from the bus company insurers together with money to compensate me for ‘loss of use’ of the car until I bought a new car in August.’
    • ‘Later that day he was sent an envelope full of money to compensate him for my insolence.’
    • ‘Do you want him to stay and is there some way to compensate him for the suffering that he has obviously endured?’
    • ‘Yet there was no willingness to compensate those suffering income loss.’
    • ‘No amount of money will ever truly compensate me for the loss I've suffered, the stress and emotional affect this has had on me.’
    • ‘If we're talking about compensating the victims, money is not the matter.’
    • ‘If I am injured in body or pocket I expect the person causing that injury to compensate me for any losses that I incur unless it has been a genuine accident.’
    • ‘And $1.8 billion of taxpayer money has been spent, allegedly compensating farmers but their losses are greater than the compensation.’
    • ‘Mr Murphy said that all widows and widowers who were overtaxed should be repaid this money with interest to compensate them for the loss of purchasing power.’
    • ‘Is the Council going to compensate me for the loss of value to my property over the last three years?’
    • ‘Is $250,000 enough money to compensate victims of medical malpractice for their pain and suffering in all cases?’
    • ‘You get money only to compensate you for the actual losses you have suffered and will suffer in the future.’
    • ‘If I may be quite frank, all the money in the world could not compensate me for the loss of my necklace.’
    • ‘You can buy policies which compensate you for loss of limbs, eyesight etc.’
    • ‘He set out plans for compensating the people who suffer the loss of their homes.’
    • ‘The deputy Prime Minister says he's decided how much he'll spend compensating farmers for a loss of water allocations, but there are still some technical details to work out.’
    • ‘The money will not compensate me for what I have been through.’
    • ‘I don't really hope she will compensate me for my suffering.’
    • ‘How can money compensate me for the loss of my family?’
    • ‘If patients win their case, they are entitled to damages, an amount of money to compensate them for their injuries.’
    recompense, repay, pay back, reimburse, remunerate, recoup, requite, indemnify
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    1. 1.1 Pay (someone) for work performed.
      ‘he will be richly compensated for his efforts’
      • ‘Incentive programs suffer when employees feel that they are not compensated fairly for their performance.’
      • ‘I think this is a challenge now for the record industry as well as the peer-to-peer services, to now find ways to still do what they are doing but get artists compensated.’
      • ‘Only well educated, well compensated, and well respected teachers can possibly do it.’
      • ‘Music fans are happy that they continue to get the music they want, now, and publishers have the means to get compensated.’
      • ‘‘We believe that auditors should not be compensated or perform work for anything else besides their role in conducting the audit,’ he told the paper.’
      • ‘By August 1877, the firm compensated his efforts by promoting Boyle to one of its stock departments.’
      • ‘Maybe it's because I have been so generously compensated in the past that this feels a little like a slap in the face.’
      • ‘I find this quite interesting, because in business school, we heard a lot about how compensating with stock options can avoid the perverse incentives inherent in most types of pay.’
      • ‘It is certainly ‘less unjust’ for a physician to bear this than someone less well compensated.’
      • ‘Among his many goals is to transform mothering into a paid profession, compensated somehow by the government.’
      • ‘Martin promised his team at the end of last season that he would put all his efforts toward winning the title and even compensated his crew members out of his own pocket to keep them together through 2005.’
      • ‘Nor does the typical academic journal have sufficient resources to compensate graduate students to perform this task.’
      • ‘Adams thinks people often work more efficiently for their own employer than for a contract job, and that having control over who he hires and how his staff is compensated makes a big difference in performance.’
      • ‘The biggest crime is how richly compensated the bad CEOs are.’
      • ‘Rights to perform were closely negotiated before enactment and exactingly compensated afterwards.’
      • ‘What's more, star employees are often richly compensated in terms of money and perks - something that can spark resentment at all levels of an organization.’
      • ‘There are two other contingencies needed in a system that compensates drivers based on performance.’
      • ‘For example, the man agrees that his spouse will be compensated for nonmonetary contributions to the marriage, such as raising the children.’
      • ‘I am equally willing to compensate your effort with the sum of US $5M when the money arrives your account.’
      • ‘Considering we wrote all our own songs, we just weren't getting compensated enough for our efforts.’
  • 2compensate forno object Reduce or counteract (something unwelcome or unpleasant) by exerting an opposite force or effect.

    ‘the manager is hoping for victory to compensate for the team's dismal league campaign’
    • ‘My issue is that he's compensating for his own missed childhood by appropriating other people's childhoods.’
    make amends, make up, make restitution, make reparation, make recompense, recompense, atone, requite, pay
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    1. 2.1 Act so as to neutralize or correct (a deficiency or abnormality in a physical property or effect)
      ‘the output voltage rises, compensating for the original fall’
      balance, balance out, counterbalance, counteract, counterpoise, countervail, make up for, offset, cancel out, neutralize, nullify, even up, square up
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    2. 2.2Psychology Attempt to conceal or offset (a disability or frustration) by development in another direction.
      ‘they put on grandiose airs to compensate for their feelings of worthlessness’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘counterbalance’): from Latin compensat- ‘weighed against’, from the verb compensare, from com- ‘together’ + pensare (frequentative of pendere ‘weigh’).