verb (used with object), rec·om·pensed, rec·om·pens·ing.

to repay; remunerate; reward, as for service, aid, etc.
to pay or give compensation for; make restitution or requital for (damage, injury, or the like).

verb (used without object), rec·om·pensed, rec·om·pens·ing.

to make compensation for something; repay someone: no attempt to recompense for our trouble.


compensation, as for an injury, wrong, etc.: to make recompense for the loss one's carelessness has caused.
a repayment or requital, as for favors, gifts, etc.
a remuneration or reward, as for services, aid, or the like.

Origin of recompense

1375–1425; (v.) late Middle English < Middle French recompenser < Late Latin recompēnsāre, equivalent to Latin re- re- + compēnsāre (see compensate); (noun) late Middle English < Middle French, derivative of recompenser
Related formsrec·om·pen·sa·ble, adjectiverec·om·pens·er, nounun·der·rec·om·pense, verb (used with object), un·der·rec·om·pensed, un·der·rec·om·pens·ing, nounun·rec·om·pens·a·ble, adjectiveun·rec·om·pensed, adjective

Synonyms for recompense

Synonym study

4–6. See reward. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for recompense

Historical Examples of recompense

  • This was the recompense of which she had dreamed through soul-tearing ages.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • This they did as a recompense for our valour and devotion in our country's service.

  • But beyond his emoluments as a partner in the invention, Alfred Vail had no recompense.

  • In the end he waited; and had his disappointment for recompense.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • And to myself I thought of what recompense already had been mine.

    The Suitors of Yvonne

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for recompense



(tr) to pay or reward for service, work, etc
(tr) to compensate for loss, injury, etc


compensation for loss, injury, etcto make recompense
reward, remuneration, or repayment
Derived Formsrecompensable, adjectiverecompenser, noun

Word Origin for recompense

C15: from Old French recompenser, from Latin re- + compensāre to balance in weighing; see compensate
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 recompense

early 15c., from Middle French recompense (13c.), related to recompenser "make good, recompense" from Late Latin recompensare (see recompense (v.)).


c.1400, "to redress," from Middle French recompenser (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin recompensare "to reward, remunerate," from Latin re- "again" (see re-) + compensare "balance out," literally "weigh together" (see compensate). From early 15c. as "to compensate." Related: Recompensed; recompensing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper