[ kom-puhn-seyt ]
See synonyms for: compensatecompensatedcompensating on

verb (used with object),com·pen·sat·ed, com·pen·sat·ing.
  1. to recompense for something: They gave him ten dollars to compensate him for his trouble.

  2. to counterbalance; offset; be equivalent to: He compensated his homely appearance with great personal charm.

  1. Mechanics. to counterbalance (a force or the like); adjust or construct so as to offset or counterbalance variations or produce equilibrium.

  2. to change the gold content of (a monetary unit) to counterbalance price fluctuations and thereby stabilize its purchasing power.

verb (used without object),com·pen·sat·ed, com·pen·sat·ing.
  1. to provide or be an equivalent; make up; make amends (usually followed by for): His occasional courtesies did not compensate for his general rudeness.

  2. Psychology. to develop or employ mechanisms of compensation.

Origin of compensate

First recorded in 1640–50, compensate is from the Latin word compēnsātus (past participle of compēnsāre to counterbalance, originally, to weigh together). See com-, pensive, -ate1

Other words for compensate

Other words from compensate

  • com·pen·sat·ing·ly, adverb
  • com·pen·sa·tor, noun
  • non·com·pen·sat·ed, adjective
  • non·com·pen·sat·ing, adjective
  • pre·com·pen·sate, verb (used with object), pre·com·pen·sat·ed, pre·com·pen·sat·ing.
  • re·com·pen·sate, verb (used with object), re·com·pen·sat·ed, re·com·pen·sat·ing.
  • sub·com·pen·sate, verb (used with object), sub·com·pen·sat·ed, sub·com·pen·sat·ing.
  • un·com·pen·sat·ed, adjective
  • un·com·pen·sat·ing, adjective
  • well-com·pen·sat·ed, adjective

Words Nearby compensate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use compensate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for compensate


/ (ˈkɒmpɛnˌseɪt) /

  1. to make amends to (someone), esp for loss or injury

  2. (tr) to serve as compensation or damages for (injury, loss, etc)

  1. to offset or counterbalance the effects of (a force, weight, movement, etc) so as to nullify the effects of an undesirable influence and produce equilibrium

  2. (intr) to attempt to conceal or offset one's shortcomings by the exaggerated exhibition of qualities regarded as desirable

Origin of compensate

C17: from Latin compēnsāre, from pensāre, from pendere to weigh

Derived forms of compensate

  • compensatory (ˈkɒmpɛnˌseɪtərɪ, kəmˈpɛnsətərɪ, -trɪ) or compensative (ˈkɒmpɛnˌseɪtɪv, kəmˈpɛnsə-), adjective
  • compensator, noun

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