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90s Slang You Should Know


[ee-kwuh l] /ˈi kwəl/
as great as; the same as (often followed by to or with):
The velocity of sound is not equal to that of light.
like or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc.; of the same rank, ability, merit, etc.:
two students of equal brilliance.
evenly proportioned or balanced:
an equal contest.
uniform in operation or effect:
equal laws.
adequate or sufficient in quantity or degree:
The supply is equal to the demand.
having adequate powers, ability, or means:
He was equal to the task.
level, as a plain.
tranquil or undisturbed:
to confront death with an equal mind.
impartial or equitable.
a person or thing that is equal.
verb (used with object), equaled, equaling or (especially British) equalled, equalling.
to be or become equal to; meet or match:
So far the rate of production doesn't equal the demand. If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C.
to make or do something equal to:
No matter how he tries, he can't equal his brother's achievements.
Archaic. to make equal; equalize.
Obsolete. to recompense fully.
Origin of equal
1350-1400; Middle English (adj.) < Latin aequālis equal, like, equivalent to aequ(us) even, plain, just + -ālis -al1
Related forms
nonequal, adjective, noun
quasi-equal, adjective
quasi-equally, adverb
subequal, adjective
subequally, adverb
2. proportionate, commensurate, coordinate, correspondent. Equal, equivalent, tantamount imply a correspondence between two or more things. Equal indicates a correspondence in all respects or in a particular respect: A dime is equal to 10 cents (that is, in purchasing power). Equivalent indicates a correspondence in one or more respects, but not in all: An egg is said to be the equivalent of a pound of meat in nutritive value. Tantamount, a word of limited application, is used of immaterial things that are equivalent: The prisoner's refusal to answer was tantamount to an admission of guilt. 4. even, uniform, regular, unvarying, invariant. 6. suited, fitted. 10. peer, compeer, match, mate, fellow.
2. different. 6. inadequate.
Usage note
1–9. See unique. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for equal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He might be her equal some day, at present he was—her brother's guest and domestic.

  • Rival is equal, and love like death an universal leveller of mankind.

  • The losses in this battle were about equal, 600 killed and wounded in each army.

    Ponce de Leon William Pilling
  • Men who were equal would be in a state of nature such as was imagined.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The Bellamy, says the critic, was only equal to the Cibber in expressing the ecstasy of love.

    Haunted London Walter Thornbury
British Dictionary definitions for equal


often foll by to or with. identical in size, quantity, degree, intensity, etc; the same (as)
having identical privileges, rights, status, etc: all men are equal before the law
having uniform effect or application: equal opportunities
evenly balanced or proportioned: the game was equal between the teams
(usually foll by to) having the necessary or adequate strength, ability, means, etc (for): to be equal to one's work
another word for equivalent (sense 3a)
a person or thing equal to another, esp in merit, ability, etc: he has no equal when it comes to boxing
verb equals, equalling, equalled (US) equals, equaling, equaled
(transitive) to be equal to; correspond to; match: my offer equals his
(intransitive) usually foll by out. to become equal or level
(transitive) to make, perform, or do something equal to: to equal the world record
(transitive) (archaic) to make equal
Derived Forms
equally, adverb
Usage note
The use of more equal as in from now on their relationship will be a more equal one is acceptable in modern English usage. Equally is preferred to equally as in sentences such as reassuring the victims is equally important. Just as is preferred to equally as in sentences such as their surprise was just as great as his
Word Origin
C14: from Latin aequālis, from aequus level, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for equal

late 14c., from Latin aequalis "uniform, identical, equal," from aequus "level, even, just," of unknown origin. Parallel formation egal (from Old French egal) was in use late 14c.-17c. The noun is recorded from 1570s.


1580s, "compare, liken," also "match, rival," from equal (adj.). Related: Equaled; equaling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with equal


In addition to the idioms beginning with equal
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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