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.
  3. something intermediate between different things: The split-level is a compromise between a ranch house and a multistoried house.
  4. 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.
  3. Obsolete.
    1. to bind by bargain or agreement.
    2. 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.


  1. settlement of a dispute by concessions on both or all sides
  2. the terms of such a settlement
  3. something midway between two or more different things
  4. 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
  3. (tr) to prejudice unfavourably; weakenhis behaviour compromised his chances
  4. (tr) obsolete to pledge mutually

n.early 15c., “a joint promise to abide by an arbiter’s decision,” from Middle French compromis (13c.), from Latin compromissus, past participle of compromittere “to make a mutual promise” (to abide by the arbiter’s decision), from com- “together” (see com-) + promittere (see promise). The main modern sense of “a coming to terms” is from extension to the settlement itself (late 15c.). v.mid-15c., from compromise (n.). Related: Compromised; compromising.

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