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[rek-uh m-pens] /ˈrɛk əmˌpɛns/
verb (used with object), recompensed, recompensing.
to repay; remunerate; reward, as for service, aid, etc.
to pay or give compensation for; make restitution or requital for (damage, injury, or the like).
verb (used without object), recompensed, recompensing.
to make compensation for something; repay someone:
no attempt to recompense for our trouble.
compensation, as for an injury, wrong, etc.:
to make recompense for the loss one's carelessness has caused.
a repayment or requital, as for favors, gifts, etc.
a remuneration or reward, as for services, aid, or the like.
Origin of recompense
late Middle English
1375-1425; (v.) late Middle English < Middle French recompenser < Late Latin recompēnsāre, equivalent to Latin re- re- + compēnsāre (see compensate); (noun) late Middle English < Middle French, derivative of recompenser
Related forms
recompensable, adjective
recompenser, noun
underrecompense, verb (used with object), underrecompensed, underrecompensing, noun
unrecompensable, adjective
unrecompensed, adjective
1. reimburse, recoup. 4. payment, amends, indemnification, satisfaction.
Synonym Study
4–6. See reward. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for recompense
Historical Examples
  • This was the recompense of which she had dreamed through soul-tearing ages.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • This they did as a recompense for our valour and devotion in our country's service.

  • But beyond his emoluments as a partner in the invention, Alfred Vail had no recompense.

  • In the end he waited; and had his disappointment for recompense.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • And to myself I thought of what recompense already had been mine.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • It has passed out of history, and its victims to their rest and recompense.

    Against Odds Lawrence L. Lynch
  • Present privation was to have had its recompense—at least we thought so.'

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • There is no sentiment of gratitude, or recompense, or reward in the gift.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • Were they better treated, and did they receive any recompense?

    Les Parsis D. Menant
  • I will let you have it without any recompense because she must have a shelter.

British Dictionary definitions for recompense


(transitive) to pay or reward for service, work, etc
(transitive) to compensate for loss, injury, etc
compensation for loss, injury, etc: to make recompense
reward, remuneration, or repayment
Derived Forms
recompensable, adjective
recompenser, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French recompenser, from Latin re- + compensāre to balance in weighing; see compensate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for recompense

early 15c., from Middle French recompense (13c.), related to recompenser "make good, recompense" from Late Latin recompensare (see recompense (v.)).


c.1400, "to redress," from Middle French recompenser (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin recompensare "to reward, remunerate," from Latin re- "again" (see re-) + compensare "balance out," literally "weigh together" (see compensate). From early 15c. as "to compensate." Related: Recompensed; recompensing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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