[kuh m-pen-suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


serving to compensate, as for loss, lack, or injury.

Also com·pen·sa·tive [kom-puh n-sey-tiv, kuh m-pen-suh-] /ˈkɒm pənˌseɪ tɪv, kəmˈpɛn sə-/.

Origin of compensatory

First recorded in 1595–1605; compensate + -ory1
Related formsnon·com·pen·sa·tive, adjectivenon·com·pen·sa·to·ry, adjectivere·com·pen·sa·to·ry, adjectivesub·com·pen·sa·tive, adjectivesub·com·pen·sa·to·ry, adjectiveun·com·pen·sa·tive, adjectiveun·com·pen·sa·to·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for compensatory

redeeming, remunerative, offsetting

Examples from the Web for compensatory

Contemporary Examples of compensatory

  • But there is a compensatory antidote: trade in the caffeine for cannabis.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Criminalize Coffee, Not Cannabis

    Robert Rosenthal

    December 16, 2010

  • Behind the impersonality of money lies an intensely personal, often compensatory compulsion.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Brotherhood of Money

    Daphne Merkin

    January 2, 2009

Historical Examples of compensatory

  • For the same reason we cannot speak of compensatory masturbation in woman.

  • Then came the compensatory thought of what had been accomplished.

  • If you commit a tort, you are liable to pay a compensatory sum.

    The Path of the Law

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • On the other hand there would be compensatory advantages not to be ignored.

    The Easiest Way

    Eugene Walter and Arthur Hornblow

  • They have compensatory perception of a kind that is still quite mysterious.


    James H Schmitz

Word Origin and History for compensatory

c.1600, from French compensatoire, from Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare (see compensate). Psychological sense is from 1921.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

compensatory in Medicine




Relating to or characterized by compensation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.