• synonyms


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.
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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.
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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·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, adjectiveun·com·pen·sat·ing, adjectivewell-com·pen·sat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for compensate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for compensator

Historical Examples of compensator

  • By collecting the over-flow of gas in the compensator, this disadvantage is obviated.

    Up in the Clouds

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • The compensator is, as may be seen, nothing more than a double Mariotte flask.

  • The compensator is very simple and not at all likely to get out of order.

  • To maintain the external form of the envelope a smaller balloon, or compensator, was placed inside the larger one.

    The Mastery of the Air

    William J. Claxton

  • The sensation swiftly lifted as the compensator took up the load.


    Clifford Donald Simak

British Dictionary definitions for compensator


  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
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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 compensator



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper