[ kom-pruh-mahyz ]
See synonyms for: compromisecompromisedcompromisescompromising on

  1. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.

  2. the result of such a settlement.

  1. something intermediate between different things: The split-level is a compromise between a ranch house and a multistoried house.

  2. an endangering, especially of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one's integrity.

verb (used with object),com·pro·mised, com·pro·mis·ing.
  1. to settle by a compromise.

  2. to expose or make vulnerable to danger, suspicion, scandal, etc.; jeopardize: a military oversight that compromised the nation's defenses.

  1. Obsolete.

    • to bind by bargain or agreement.

    • to bring to terms.

verb (used without object),com·pro·mised, com·pro·mis·ing.
  1. to make a compromise or compromises: The conflicting parties agreed to compromise.

  2. to make a dishonorable or shameful concession: He is too honorable to compromise with his principles.

Origin of compromise

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Anglo-French compromisse, Middle French compromis, from Latin comprōmissum; equivalent to com- + promise

Other words from compromise

  • com·pro·mis·er, noun
  • com·pro·mis·ing·ly, adverb
  • com·prom·is·sa·ry [kom-prom-uh-ser-ee], /kɒmˈprɒm əˌsɛr i/, adjective
  • non·com·pro·mis·ing, adjective
  • pro·com·pro·mise, adjective
  • qua·si-com·pro·mis·ing, adjective
  • qua·si-com·pro·mis·ing·ly, adverb

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

How to use compromise in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for compromise


/ (ˈkɒmprəˌmaɪz) /

  1. settlement of a dispute by concessions on both or all sides

  2. the terms of such a settlement

  1. something midway between two or more different things

  2. an exposure of one's good name, reputation, etc, to injury

  1. to settle (a dispute) by making concessions

  2. (tr) to expose (a person or persons) to disrepute

  1. (tr) to prejudice unfavourably; weaken: his behaviour compromised his chances

  2. (tr) obsolete to pledge mutually

Origin of compromise

C15: from Old French compromis, from Latin comprōmissum mutual agreement to accept the decision of an arbiter, from comprōmittere, from prōmittere to promise

Derived forms of compromise

  • compromiser, noun
  • compromisingly, adverb

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