Definition of compensate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkämpənˌsāt/


1 [with object] Give (someone) something, typically money, in recognition of loss, suffering, or injury incurred; recompense: payments were made to farmers to compensate them for cuts in subsidies
More example sentences
  • If I am injured in body or pocket I expect the person causing that injury to compensate me for any losses that I incur unless it has been a genuine accident.
  • No amount of money will ever truly compensate me for the loss I've suffered, the stress and emotional affect this has had on me.
  • The insurers then claimed the sum from the bus company insurers together with money to compensate me for ‘loss of use’ of the car until I bought a new car in August.
recompense, repay, pay back, reimburse, remunerate, recoup, requite, indemnify
1.1Pay (someone) for work performed: he will be richly compensated for his efforts
More example sentences
  • Nor does the typical academic journal have sufficient resources to compensate graduate students to perform this task.
  • There are two other contingencies needed in a system that compensates drivers based on performance.
  • Adams thinks people often work more efficiently for their own employer than for a contract job, and that having control over who he hires and how his staff is compensated makes a big difference in performance.
2 [no object] (compensate for) Make up for (something unwelcome or unpleasant) by exerting an opposite force or effect: officials have boosted levies to compensate for huge deficits
More example sentences
  • They take behavioral steps to compensate for the sleep loss, napping during the day or early evening.
  • A consistent, early wake-up time will force the body to start shutting down earlier to compensate for the lost sleep.
  • For example, a girl's learning disability hides her math talent, and the math talent compensates for her learning disability - so she gets passing, but mediocre, math grades.
2.1Act to neutralize or correct (a deficiency or abnormality in a physical property or effect): the output voltage rises, compensating for the original fall
More example sentences
  • But to believe that this renders them unusable is to underestimate the skills that most artists would surely have for interpreting, improvising, and compensating for any deficiencies.
  • The title's realistic firefight sound effects partially compensate for this glaring deficiency.
  • Corrections to compensate for the effects of constant errors can be determined from the TFT.
balance (out), counterbalance, counteract, offset, make up for, cancel out, neutralize, negative
2.2 Psychology Attempt to conceal or offset (a disability or frustration) by development in another direction: they identified with radical movements to compensate for their inability to relate to individual human beings
More example sentences
  • My issue is that he's compensating for his own missed childhood by appropriating other people's childhoods.
make amends, make up, make reparation, recompense, atone, requite, pay;
expiate, make good, rectify
3 [with object] Mechanics Provide (a pendulum) with extra or less weight to neutralize the effects of temperature, etc.



Pronunciation: /kəmˈpensədiv/
Example sentences
  • Repeated chemoembolization can be prescribed for postoperative patients with compensative liver function.
  • This compensative action was insufficient when the glucose concentration was too high.
  • Based on the models, an adaptive temperature compensative control method for a clutch working process was put forward.


Pronunciation: /ˈkämp(ə)nˌsādər/
Example sentences
  • Manufacturers tailor compact, uncooled cameras for airport screening applications by adding temperature compensators, analysis software, or self-calibration capabilities.
  • Problems arise occasionally, but contemporary masks, fins, snorkels, regulators and buoyancy compensators are far better than they were even a few years ago.
  • What I am interested in is determining which stance provides the best all-around control, under duress, using a defensive handgun without benefit of compensators, ports or other gadgets.


Mid 17th century (in the sense 'counterbalance'): from Latin compensat- 'weighed against', from the verb compensare, from com- 'together' + pensare (frequentative of pendere 'weigh').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·pen·sate

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