First of all, thank you for your assistance in advance.

When I am reading this Op-ed,

there is a line,( in the second paragraph )

And if he did unnecessarily compromise the source of the sensitive information >he shared with the Russians, shame on him.

Now, I used to know, or I might have not known very accurately regarding this verb, and I checked the Merriam Unabridged. It says,

2 of factions : to adjust or settle by partial mutual relinquishment of >principles, position, or claims : settle by coming to terms

3 a : to put in jeopardy : endanger (as life, reputation, or dignity) by some >act that cannot be recalled : expose to suspicion, discredit, or mischief b : to cause (a person) embarrassment, humiliation, or shame by improper >sexual advances or by allowing the suspicion of such to arise same man> c : to reveal or expose to unauthorized persons and especially to an enemy >(the nature, details, or workings of classified matter or a classified device) system>

Now I personally would guess the definition 3 is used in the line.

However, it seems to me personally, 2 and 3 have different meanings in a way the former has some positive nuance whilst the latter has the negative.

Am I correct about this? And should it be so, how come a verb can have 2 unparallel meanings?

Any answer will be appreciated with great thanks.

  • Or am I wrong? After I watched the briefing, the verb compromise might be used as 2... – Kentaro Tomono May 16 '17 at 22:36

Compromise is an old term whose connotations have "negative" implications in having to meet or take into account the requests or needs of others with respects and often at the expense of yours. The "risk" connotation is an extension of the original meaning:

  • 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 "with, together" (see com-) + promittere (see promise). The main modern sense of "a coming to terms" is from extension to the settlement itself (late 15c.).



1) [intransitive] to give up some of your demands after a disagreement with somebody, in order to reach an agreement

  • Neither side is prepared to compromise.

2) compromise (with somebody) (on something)

  • After much argument, the judges finally compromised on (= agreed to give the prize to) the 18-year old pianist. They were unwilling to compromise with the terrorists.

3) [transitive, intransitive] to do something that is against your principles or does not reach standards that you have set compromise something I refuse to compromise my principles.

  • compromise (on something) We are not prepared to compromise on safety standards.

4) [transitive] compromise somebody/something/yourself - to bring somebody/something/yourself into danger or under suspicion, especially by acting in a way that is not very sensible:

  • She had already compromised herself by accepting his invitation. Defeat at this stage would compromise their chances (= reduce their chances) of reaching the finals of the competition. [transitive] to cause something to be in danger of attack or of working less well Users perform tasks every day that can compromise the security of their computers. Alcohol and drug abuse can compromise your health, not to mention your life.


  • Or may be to Merriam's 3. This verb is difficult! :) – Kentaro Tomono May 16 '17 at 22:43

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