verb (used with object), com·pen·sat·ed, com·pen·sat·ing.
- to recompense for something: They gave him ten dollars to compensate him for his trouble.
- to counterbalance; offset; be equivalent to: He compensated his homely appearance with great personal charm.
- Mechanics. to counterbalance (a force or the like); adjust or construct so as to offset or counterbalance variations or produce equilibrium.
- to change the gold content of (a monetary unit) to counterbalance price fluctuations and thereby stabilize its purchasing power.
verb (used without object), com·pen·sat·ed, com·pen·sat·ing.
- to provide or be an equivalent; make up; make amends (usually followed by for): His occasional courtesies did not compensate for his general rudeness.
- Psychology. to develop or employ mechanisms of compensation.
- to make amends to (someone), esp for loss or injury
- (tr) to serve as compensation or damages for (injury, loss, etc)
- to offset or counterbalance the effects of (a force, weight, movement, etc) so as to nullify the effects of an undesirable influence and produce equilibrium
- (intr) to attempt to conceal or offset one’s shortcomings by the exaggerated exhibition of qualities regarded as desirable
1640s, “to be equivalent;” 1650s, “to counterbalance, make up for,” from Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare “to weigh one thing (against another),” thus, “to counterbalance,” from com- “with” (see com-) + pensare, frequentative of pendere “to weigh” (see pendant). Meaning “to recompense, remunerate” is from 1814. Related: Compensated; compensating.