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The word compensate and its family (compensated, compensates, compensating, compensation, compensations, compensatory) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

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Definition of the verb compensate

What does compensate mean as a doing word?

Compensate is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: compensated | compensating | compensates

  1. adjust for
  2. make amends for; pay compensation for
    • example: She was compensated for the loss of her arm in the accident
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonyms of compensate: indemnify / recompense / repair
    • more generic word: pay = give money, usually in exchange for goods or services
    • more specific word: give = deliver in exchange or recompense
  3. make up for shortcomings or a feeling of inferiority by exaggerating good qualities
  4. make reparations or amends for
  5. do or give something to somebody in return
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Recipient]Brown equipped his soldiers
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Recipient] with [Theme]Brown equipped Jones with a camera
      [Theme] [Verb] [Recipient]The huge load burdened the mule

      Verbs of Change of Possession (with the same syntax): armor, burden, encumber, overburden, weight.

    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonyms of compensate: make up / pay / pay off
    • more generic word: settle = dispose of
  6. make payment to; compensate

Alternative definition of the verb compensate


  1. To pay someone in exchange for work done or some other consideration.
  2. To make up for; to do something in place of something else; to correct or fill.

Definition of the verb compensate for high school students

    to make an appropriate payment for something
    • example: Reginald bought Sharona a new dress to compensate her for the one he'd spilled his ice cream on.

The verb compensate is considered to be a word that all college-aspiring students should know and understand, so it frequently appears on the SAT, ACT and other college admissions tests.

Specialised definition of the verb compensate

Glossary of sports

to make good the failure of an organ by making another organ, or the undamaged parts of the same organ, function at a higher level (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

to emphasise a particular ability or personality characteristic in order to make the lack of another one seem less bad (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)


"Compensate" is a musical single of Space Like Alice.

  • released in (14 years ago)

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Compensate

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Google previewPrivate Law and Human Rights: Bringing Rights Home in Scotland and South Africa (2013)

by Daniel Visser

derivative duty to compensate is the duty not to harm transformed by failure to comply into a duty to do the next best thing (restore the victims to where they should have been, or as close as possible).'63 Corrective justice is thus not an ...

Google previewAustria, Estonia, Italy, Slovenia (2008)

by Wolfgang Faber

whereas in the case of an obligation in tort the obligation to compensate is a new one. Art. 2043 C.C. states that any negligent or fraudulent act, which ...

Google previewThe Social Philosophy of Adam Smith (2012)

by J.R. Lindgren

The only circumstance for which that disposition cannot, or at least cannot always , compensate is the injudicious use of a nation's capital by the public extravagance of its government. Should a government require the nation to support “a ...

Google previewIn Praise of Desire (2013)

by Nomy Arpaly, Timothy Schroeder

To compensate is an action, and to ...

Google previewThe Interaction of Contract Law and Tort and Property Law in Europe (2004)

A Comparative Study by Christian von Bar, Ulrich Drobnig, Guido Alpa

reads: “If the duty to compensate is a disproportionate detriment for the person bound to compensate taking ...

Google previewGarner's Dictionary of Legal Usage (2011)

by Bryan A. Garner

Although compensate is a much more common verb than recompense, the latter does frequently appear— more commonly in law than elsewhere. E.g.: •. “It is possible to find exceptions, to be sure: a famous author tells a ...

Google previewInternational Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (1983)

by Viktor Knapp

1910: "Anyone who, acting unlawfully or improperly, causes damage to another, is obliged to compensate for...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (2009)

by John M Levine, Michael A. Hogg

If the outcome of a task is not important to an individual, then there is no need to compensate for poorly performing coworkers. However, if the outcome of a task is meaningful, then an individual will be motivated to avoid group failure by ...

Google previewA Dictionary of English Synonymes and Synonymous Or Parallel Expressions Designed as a Practical Guide to Aptness and Variety of Phraseology (1891)

by Richard Soule

Compensate, make good, make up for. 5. Supply, furnish, provide. 6. Determine, bring to a conclusion. 7. Shape. 8. Settle, adjust.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Compensate

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Usage statistics about compensate

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb compensate:


Photos about Compensate

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Small photo of The sloping lock in Ronquieres, Belgium is a monumental structure created to compensate water level difference on canal between Brussels and Charleroi. More...

Video language resources about Compensate

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Quotes about Compensate

The most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents. (Eric Hoffer)
more quotes about compensate...

Scrabble value of C3O1M3P3E1N1S1A1T1E1

The value of this 10-letter word is 16 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of COMPENSATE

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