The etymology of the word “compromise” is interesting. It comes from the Latin compromissus (past participle of compromittere), meaning “to make a mutual promise to accept an arbiter’s decision” (com = together; promise = promise). In the 1500s, the meaning of the word evolved to include the process of making the mutual promise, the back-and-forth process of negotiation by mutual concessions (without an arbiter). In the 1690s, a negative spin was added, suggesting that to be “compromised” included being “expose[d] to risk or hazard, endanger[ing] the reputation of [the compromised person].”

Puzzle on cotton paper, June 2023.
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