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From Middle French compromis, from Medieval Latin, Late Latin compromissum (a compromise, originally a mutual promise to refer to arbitration), prop. neuter of Latin compromissus, past participle of compromittere (to make a mutual promise to abide by the decision of an arbiter), from com- (together) + promittere (to promise); see promise.



compromise (plural compromises)

  1. The settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions.
    • Shakespeare
      But basely yielded upon compromise / That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows.
    • Burke
      All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.
    • Hallam
      An abhorrence of concession and compromise is a never failing characteristic of religious factions.
  2. A committal to something derogatory or objectionable; a prejudicial concession; a surrender.
    a compromise of character or right
    • Lamb
      I was determined not to accept any fine speeches, to the compromise of that sex the belonging to which was, after all, my strongest claim and title to them.

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compromise (third-person singular simple present compromises, present participle compromising, simple past and past participle compromised)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To bind by mutual agreement.
    • Shakespeare
      Laban and himself were compromised / That all the eanlings which were streaked and pied / Should fall as Jacob's hire.
  2. To adjust and settle by mutual concessions; to compound.
    • Fuller
      The controversy may easily be compromised.
  3. (intransitive) To find a way between extremes.
  4. To pledge by some act or declaration; to endanger the life, reputation, etc., of, by some act which can not be recalled; to expose to suspicion.
    • Motley
      To pardon all who had been compromised in the late disturbances.
  5. (transitive) To cause impairment of.
  6. (transitive) To breach (a security system).
    He tried to compromise the security in the computer by guessing the password.

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  1. third-person singular past historic of compromettere