See more synonyms for compensate 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.
  3. Mechanics. to counterbalance (a force or the like); adjust or construct so as to offset or counterbalance variations or produce equilibrium.
  4. 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, orig., to weigh together). See com-, pensive, -ate1
Related formscom·pen·sat·ing·ly, adverbcom·pen·sa·tor, nounnon·com·pen·sat·ed, adjectivenon·com·pen·sat·ing, adjectivepre·com·pen·sate, verb (used with object), pre·com·pen·sat·ed, pre·com·pen·sat··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, adjectiveun·com·pen·sat·ing, adjectivewell-com·pen·sat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for compensate

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for compensate

Contemporary Examples of compensate

Historical Examples of compensate

  • A few details had to be adjusted to compensate for Kingozi's lack of eyes.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • What can it give you to compensate for the misery of a union without love?

  • Nothing can compensate for the loss of hope in a man: it entirely changes the character.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Could they compensate for one hour of life and love as humanity lived it?

    The Heads of Apex

    Francis Flagg

  • Thus did he compensate them with the view of preventing any race from becoming extinct.

British Dictionary definitions for compensate


  1. to make amends to (someone), esp for loss or injury
  2. (tr) to serve as compensation or damages for (injury, loss, etc)
  3. 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
  4. (intr) to attempt to conceal or offset one's shortcomings by the exaggerated exhibition of qualities regarded as desirable
Derived Formscompensatory (ˈkɒmpɛnˌseɪtərɪ, kəmˈpɛnsətərɪ, -trɪ) or compensative (ˈkɒmpɛnˌseɪtɪv, kəmˈpɛnsə-), adjectivecompensator, noun

Word Origin for compensate

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

Word Origin and History for compensate

1640s, "to be equivalent;" 1650s, "to counterbalance, make up for," from Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare "to weigh one thing (against another)," thus, "to counterbalance," from com- "with" (see com-) + pensare, frequentative of pendere "to weigh" (see pendant). Meaning "to recompense, remunerate" is from 1814. Related: Compensated; compensating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper