Understanding the Spanish Idiom: "por compromiso" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: Spanish

Por compromiso is commonly used in Spanish to describe an action that is done out of obligation or duty rather than genuine desire or interest. It can also refer to something that is done simply to avoid offending someone or causing conflict.

Examples of Usage

This idiom can be used in various contexts, from social situations to business dealings. For example:

  • “Fui al cumpleaños de mi jefe por compromiso.” (I went to my boss’s birthday party out of obligation.)
  • “Acepté el trabajo por compromiso con mi familia.” (I took the job out of duty to my family.)
  • “Compré este regalo por compromiso para no quedar mal.” (I bought this gift just to avoid offending anyone.)

Origins and Historical Context of the Spanish Idiom “por compromiso”

The Spanish language is rich in idiomatic expressions, which are often used to convey complex ideas or emotions in a concise manner. One such idiom is por compromiso, which can be translated as “out of obligation” or “as a matter of duty.” This expression has its roots in the historical context of Spain, where social norms and expectations played a significant role in shaping people’s behavior.

During the medieval period, Spain was divided into various kingdoms and regions, each with its own customs and traditions. The concept of honor and duty was highly valued, especially among the nobility and upper classes. It was considered essential to fulfill one’s obligations towards family, community, and country. Failure to do so could result in shame or even exile.

Over time, this sense of duty became ingrained in the Spanish psyche and found expression in everyday language. The phrase por compromiso reflects this cultural emphasis on fulfilling obligations regardless of personal feelings or preferences. It implies that one is doing something not out of genuine interest or enthusiasm but rather because it is expected or required.

In contemporary Spain, this idiom continues to be used frequently in both formal and informal settings. It can refer to anything from attending a social event out of politeness to accepting a job offer despite reservations about the position. Understanding the origins and historical context of this expression can provide valuable insights into Spanish culture and mentality.

Usage and Variations of the Spanish Idiom “por compromiso”

The Spanish idiom por compromiso is a commonly used expression in everyday conversations. It refers to doing something out of obligation or duty rather than genuine interest or desire. The phrase can be applied in various contexts, including social, professional, and personal situations.

Social Context

In social situations, por compromiso often implies attending events or gatherings out of courtesy rather than actual enjoyment. For example, one may attend a friend’s party “por compromiso” even if they would rather stay home.

Professional Context

In the workplace, por compromiso can refer to completing tasks that are not necessarily part of one’s job responsibilities but are necessary for the success of the team or company. For instance, an employee may take on extra work “por compromiso” to help their colleagues meet a deadline.


The phrase por obligación has a similar meaning to “por compromiso,” emphasizing the sense of duty or obligation behind an action. Another variation is “a regañadientes,” which translates to reluctantly or unwillingly doing something.

Note: It is important to understand the context in which these idioms are used as they can have different connotations depending on the situation.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Spanish Idiom “por compromiso”


  • Por obligación – out of obligation
  • Por deber – out of duty
  • Por cortesía – as a courtesy
  • Por amistad – out of friendship
  • Por respeto – out of respect

These synonyms all share a common theme of doing something not necessarily because one wants to, but because they feel compelled to due to external factors such as social norms or relationships.


  • Voluntariamente – voluntarily
  • Por elección propia – by one’s own choice
  • Con entusiasmo- enthusiastically
  • A gusto- happily

The antonyms for por compromiso highlight the opposite sentiment: doing something willingly and with enthusiasm.

Cultural Insights:

In Spanish culture, it is often considered impolite or rude to decline an invitation or request outright. Instead, people may use expressions like por compromiso to indicate that they are doing something not because they want to but rather because they feel obligated to do so. This can be seen in situations such as attending social events or helping friends with tasks even if it inconveniences oneself. However, it is important to note that this cultural norm varies depending on context and individual personalities.

Practical Exercises for the Spanish Idiom “por compromiso”

Putting Theory into Practice

After gaining a basic understanding of the Spanish idiom por compromiso, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice. The following exercises will help you develop your skills in using this phrase appropriately in various situations.

Exercise 1: Write down five scenarios where you might use the phrase por compromiso and come up with an appropriate response. For example, if someone invites you to a party but you don’t really want to go, how would you politely decline while acknowledging your obligation?

Exercise 2: Role-play different situations with a partner or friend where one person uses por compromiso and the other responds accordingly. This exercise will help you become more comfortable using the phrase in real-life conversations.

Incorporating “Por Compromiso” into Your Vocabulary

To truly master this idiom, it’s important to incorporate it into your everyday vocabulary. Here are some practical ways to do so:

– Use por compromiso when declining invitations or requests that you feel obligated to accept but don’t necessarily want to participate in.

– Acknowledge others’ efforts by thanking them for doing something por compromiso.

– When making plans or commitments, be honest about whether they are being made out of genuine interest or simply por compromiso.

By practicing these exercises and incorporating the use of por compromiso into your daily life, you’ll soon find yourself speaking like a native Spanish speaker!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Spanish Idiom “por compromiso”

When it comes to using idioms in a foreign language, it’s easy to make mistakes. The Spanish idiom por compromiso is no exception. This phrase can be translated as “out of obligation” or “out of duty,” but there are some common mistakes that learners should avoid when using this expression.

Avoiding Literal Translations

The first mistake that many learners make when using the idiom por compromiso is translating it literally. While the literal translation may seem correct, it often doesn’t convey the true meaning of the phrase. Instead, learners should focus on understanding the context in which the idiom is used and use an appropriate translation based on that context.

Avoiding Overuse

Another mistake that learners make when using this idiom is overusing it. While por compromiso can be a useful expression, relying too heavily on one phrase can make your speech sound unnatural and stilted. It’s important to learn a variety of expressions and phrases so you can communicate more effectively in different situations.

Mistake Solution
Translating Literally Focus on understanding context for accurate translations.
Overusing Phrase Diversify vocabulary for effective communication.
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: