type of dispute resolution where each party gives up part of their demand to reach a solution they can all agree on
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Compromise is the making of a deal between different parties where each party gives up part of their demand. In arguments, compromise is a concept of finding agreement through communication, through a mutual acceptance of terms—often involving variations from an original goal or desire.


  • Nearly all legislation is the result of compromise.
    • Maxim quoted in a tribute to Cannon on his retirement, reported in The Sun, Baltimore, Maryland (March 4, 1923); Congressional Record (March 4, 1923), vol. 64, p. 5714.
  • COMPROMISE, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.
  • There is but one thing you have to be concerned about, and that is that you keep foursquare with the principles of the international Socialist movement. It is only when you begin to compromise that trouble begins. So far as I am concerned, it does not matter what others may say, or think, or do, as long as I am sure that I am right with myself and the cause. There are so many who seek refuge in the popular side of a great question. As a Socialist, I have long since learned how to stand alone.
  • If you are not very clever, you should be conciliatory.
    • Benjamin Disraeli, Endymion (vol. 20 of The Works of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield), chapter 85, p. 153 (1904, reprinted 1976; originally published 1880).
  • I believe in friendly compromise. I said over in the Senate hearings that truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.
    • Gerald Ford, remarks during hearings before the House Committee on the Judiciary (November 15, 1973), Nomination of Gerald R. Ford to Be the Vice President of the United States, hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives (1973), 93d Congress, 1st session.
  • There isn't such a reasonable fellow in the world, to hear him talk. He never wants anything but what's right and fair; only when you come to settle what's right and fair, it’s everything he wants, and nothing that you want. And that’s his idea of a compromise.
  • Nite-Owl: Rorschach...? Rorschach, wait! Where are you going? This is too big to be hard-assed about! We have to compromise!
Rorschach: No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise.
  • I think it is better, as it is a family-affair, to stand over for the chance of a compromise.
    • Lord Mansfield, Strong v. Cummin (1758), 2 Burr. Part IV., p. 769; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 38.
  • On its first coming before me, I strongly recommended it here. But if the parties will have it decided, we must give our opinion. Compassion will not, on the one hand, nor inconvenience on the other, be to decide, but the law: in which the difficulty will be principally from the inconvenience on both sides.
    • Lord Mansfield, Somerset v. Stewart (1772), Lofft. 17; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 38.
  • We will compromise on almost anything, but not on our values, or our aesthetics, or our idealism, or our sense of curiosity.
  • Now and then one can stand uncompromisingly for a naked principle and force people up to it. This is always the attractive course; but in certain great crises it may be a very wrong course. Compromise, in the proper sense, merely means agreement; in the proper sense opportunism should merely mean doing the best possible with actual conditions as they exist. A compromise which results in a half-step toward evil is all wrong, just as the opportunist who saves himself for the moment by adopting a policy which is fraught with future disaster is all wrong; but no less wrong is the attitude of those who will not come to an agreement through which, or will not follow the course by which, it is alone possible to accomplish practical results for good.
  • "Compromise" is so often used in a bad sense that it is difficult to remember that properly it merely describes the process of reaching an agreement. Naturally there are certain subjects on which no man can compromise. For instance, there must be no compromise under any circumstances with official corruption, and of course no man should hesitate to say as much.
  • Worse than thieves, murderers, or cannibals, those who offer compromise slow you and sap your vitality while pretending to be your friends. They are not your friends. Compromisers are the enemies of all humanity, the enemies of life itself. Compromisers are the enemies of everything important, sacred, and true.
    • L. Neil Smith, "Am I the NRA?" collected in Lever Action (2001) and republished online in 2007[1].
  • I'm not big on compromise. I understand compromise. Sometimes compromise is the right answer, but oftentimes compromise is the equivalent of defeat, and I don't like being defeated.
  • If you can't lick 'em, jine 'em.
    • Attributed to Senator James Eli Watson, in Frank R. Kent The Atlantic Monthly (February 1932), p. 188; Kent referred to this as "one of his favorite sayings". Reported as not found in Watson's memoirs in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • All legislation of consequence is a series of compromises, and there are many trades and deals among the senators in order to get important measures through. These trades are not of a sinister nature at all, but are entirely permissible by the highest standards of legislation and morals … Every legislator understands that no measure of importance ever could be passed without this give-and-take policy being practiced to the limit.
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