[kuh m-par-uh-ter, kom-puh-rey-]


any of various instruments for making comparisons, as of lengths or distances, tints of colors, etc.
Electronics. a circuit for comparing two signals, as readings of duplicate information stored in a digital computer, and for giving an indication of agreement or disagreement between them.

Nearby words

  1. comparative pathology,
  2. comparative philology,
  3. comparative psychology,
  4. comparative religion,
  5. comparative statement,
  6. compare,
  7. compare notes,
  8. compared,
  9. comparison,
  10. comparison microscope

Origin of comparator

First recorded in 1880–85, comparator is from the Late Latin word comparātor a comparer. See compare, -tor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for comparator

  • Put the sample and comparator together into a reactor and bombard them with neutrons.

    The Atomic Fingerprint|Bernard Keisch
  • In the comparator Vickers brought the corresponding standard comparison lines together.

  • The most important of these “tricks” is the use of a “standard” or “comparator”.

    The Atomic Fingerprint|Bernard Keisch
  • The lieutenant put the retinal photos in the comparator, took a good look, and nodded.

    Unwise Child|Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for comparator



any instrument used to measure a property of a system by comparing it with a standard system
an electric circuit that compares two signals and gives an indication of the extent of their dissimilarity
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

Word Origin and History for comparator



1883, agent noun in Latin form from compare.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper