Definition of compensate in 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’
    • ‘Do you want him to stay and is there some way to compensate him for the suffering that he has obviously endured?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He set out plans for compensating the people who suffer the loss of their homes.’
    • ‘You can buy policies which compensate you for loss of limbs, eyesight etc.’
    • ‘If patients win their case, they are entitled to damages, an amount of money to compensate them for their injuries.’
    • ‘And $1.8 billion of taxpayer money has been spent, allegedly compensating farmers but their losses are greater than the compensation.’
    • ‘Yet there was no willingness to compensate those suffering income loss.’
    • ‘If I may be quite frank, all the money in the world could not compensate me for the loss of my necklace.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I don't really hope she will compensate me for my suffering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You get money only to compensate you for the actual losses you have suffered and will suffer in the future.’
    • ‘The money will not compensate me for what I have been through.’
    • ‘How can money compensate me for the loss of my family?’
    • ‘Later that day he was sent an envelope full of money to compensate him for my insolence.’
    • ‘If we're talking about compensating the victims, money is not the matter.’
    • ‘Is $250,000 enough money to compensate victims of medical malpractice for their pain and suffering in all cases?’
    • ‘Is the Council going to compensate me for the loss of value to my property over the last three years?’
    recompense, repay, pay back, reimburse, remunerate, recoup, requite, indemnify
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Pay (someone) for work performed.
      ‘he will be richly compensated for his efforts’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Incentive programs suffer when employees feel that they are not compensated fairly for their performance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The biggest crime is how richly compensated the bad CEOs are.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rights to perform were closely negotiated before enactment and exactingly compensated afterwards.’
      • ‘I am equally willing to compensate your effort with the sum of US $5M when the money arrives your account.’
      • ‘It is certainly ‘less unjust’ for a physician to bear this than someone less well compensated.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nor does the typical academic journal have sufficient resources to compensate graduate students to perform this task.’
      • ‘Considering we wrote all our own songs, we just weren't getting compensated enough for our efforts.’
      • ‘There are two other contingencies needed in a system that compensates drivers based on performance.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Music fans are happy that they continue to get the music they want, now, and publishers have the means to get 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.’
      • ‘Only well educated, well compensated, and well respected teachers can possibly do it.’
      • ‘For example, the man agrees that his spouse will be compensated for nonmonetary contributions to the marriage, such as raising the children.’
  • 2compensate forno object Make up for (something unwelcome or unpleasant) by exerting an opposite force or effect.

    ‘officials have boosted levies to compensate for huge deficits’
    • ‘It compensates for an inherent sense of weakness and helplessness.’
    • ‘Many try to compensate for their lack of time together by spending money on the children.’
    • ‘We don't compensate for eating too much at one sitting by eating less at the next.’
    • ‘A consistent, early wake-up time will force the body to start shutting down earlier to compensate for the lost sleep.’
    • ‘What memories can be recovered, what must be relearned, and what might be compensated for if you suffer the trauma of brain damage?’
    • ‘The clients found ways to compensate for the therapists' inability to understand them.’
    • ‘However insomnia starts, it is maintained by behaviors that began as attempts to compensate for sleep loss.’
    • ‘Even friendly coworkers or a rewarding occupation cannot compensate for a negative relationship with the boss.’
    • ‘For example, a girl's learning disability hides her math talent, and the math talent compensates for her learning disability - so she gets passing, but mediocre, math grades.’
    • ‘Even our bodies seek balance, compensating for changing conditions to keep temperature, blood sugar, and dozens of other characteristics stable.’
    • ‘The social ties compensate for meager neighbourhood resources.’
    • ‘The cost of making things right for a dissatisfied customer will be more than compensated for when they sing your praises for treating them so well.’
    • ‘Breier suggests that the right lobe may be attempting to compensate for the left lobe's inaction.’
    • ‘For example, students who are highly intelligent could compensate for their reading problems by making good guesses.’
    • ‘Like addicts, overeaters may be compensating for a sluggish dopamine system by turning to the one thing that gets their neurons pumping.’
    • ‘And it compensates for sleep loss by allowing you to fall asleep faster and staying asleep longer the next night.’
    • ‘To compensate for this variation in vocabulary, and to expand the search results, it helps to search for word variations as well.’
    • ‘Each did everything and, at the same time, we played to our strengths and compensated for our weaknesses.’
    • ‘They take behavioral steps to compensate for the sleep loss, napping during the day or early evening.’
    • ‘Disruption of these functions could limit the brain's ability to compensate for neuronal damage caused by a variety of factors.’
    1. 2.1 Act to neutralize or correct (a deficiency or abnormality in a physical property or effect)
      ‘the output voltage rises, compensating for the original fall’
      • ‘But to believe that this renders them unusable is to underestimate the skills that most artists would surely have for interpreting, improvising, and compensating for any deficiencies.’
      • ‘Carlson suggests that an individual who is aware of this bias can compensate for it.’
      • ‘A diametrically opposite area in such a situation may be seen to be overemphasized as if to compensate for the deficiencies.’
      • ‘She then compensates for any deficiencies with additional radial lights until the desired effect is achieved.’
      • ‘Siegel hypothesizes that the rats' bodies sought to compensate for expected drug effects by dropping in temperature.’
      • ‘Rather, they may act in concert with other protective molecules in the plant cell, perhaps compensating for deficiencies in concentrations of such molecules during periods of stress.’
      • ‘She's obviously enjoying herself, and the infectiousness of that pleasure rubs off on the audience and more than compensates for any story deficiencies.’
      • ‘Increased heat production resulting from increased muscular activity cannot be compensated for because of the vasoconstrictive effects of the drug.’
      • ‘It compensates for its physical and spiritual inadequacies with national self-adulation and pompous symbolism, not the least of which was the recent naval exercise.’
      • ‘The title's realistic firefight sound effects partially compensate for this glaring deficiency.’
      • ‘They are either advertising their shock value or compensating for some inbuilt deficiency.’
      • ‘Since industry in the interior was woefully undeveloped, the nationalists used plentiful manpower in an effort to compensate for other deficiencies.’
      • ‘Simple educational interventions may help compensate for these deficits, improving academic performance, behaviour, and self esteem.’
      • ‘The psychiatrist compensated for this effect by increasing the lamotrigine dosage to 400 mg/day.’
      • ‘This is also true for visual working memory where no evidence of loss due to aging is demonstrated for processing low-level visual information, when individual differences in sensory input are compensated for.’
      • ‘True, horses are good to be around and always easy on the eye, and the social pleasures of spectating can more than compensate for any deficiencies in the spectacle.’
      • ‘Corrections to compensate for the effects of constant errors can be determined from the TFT.’
      • ‘Whether central mechanisms might be involved in compensating for effects of size variations in object recognition remains an open empirical issue.’
      • ‘A logarithmic transform of the power was considered necessary to compensate for the disproportionate skewing effects of delta activity.’
      • ‘He compensates for those deficiencies, however, with his leadership ability.’
      balance, balance out, counterbalance, counteract, counterpoise, countervail, make up for, offset, cancel out, neutralize, nullify, even up, square up
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Psychology Attempt to conceal or offset (a disability or frustration) by development in another direction.
      ‘they identified with radical movements to compensate for their inability to relate to individual human beings’
  • 3Mechanics
    with object Provide (a pendulum) with extra or less weight to neutralize the effects of temperature, etc.


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