[ kuhm-par-uh-suhn ]
/ kəmˈpær ə sən /


the act of comparing.
the state of being compared.
a likening; illustration by similitude; comparative estimate or statement.
Rhetoric. the considering of two things with regard to some characteristic that is common to both, as the likening of a hero to a lion in courage.
capability of being compared or likened.
  1. the function of an adverb or adjective that is used to indicate degrees of superiority or inferiority in quality, quantity, or intensity.
  2. the patterns of formation involved therein.
  3. the degrees of a particular word, displayed in a fixed order, as mild, milder, mildest, less mild, least mild.

Nearby words

  1. comparative statement,
  2. comparator,
  3. compare,
  4. compare notes,
  5. compared,
  6. comparison microscope,
  7. comparison shopper,
  8. comparison test,
  9. comparison-shop,
  10. comparsa

Origin of comparison

1300–50; Middle English comparesoun < Old French comparaison < Latin comparātiōn- (stem of comparātiō). See compare, -ation

Related formsin·ter·com·par·i·son, nounpre·com·par·i·son, nounre·com·par·i·son, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for comparison

British Dictionary definitions for comparison


/ (kəmˈpærɪsən) /


the act or process of comparing
the state of being compared
comparable quality or qualities; likenessthere was no comparison between them
a rhetorical device involving comparison, such as a simile
Also called: degrees of comparison grammar the listing of the positive, comparative, and superlative forms of an adjective or adverb
bear comparison or stand comparison to be sufficiently similar in class or range to be compared with (something else), esp favourably
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 comparison



mid-14c., from Old French comparaison (12c.), from Latin comparationem (nominative comparatio), noun of action from past participle stem of comparare "make equal with, liken, bring together for a contest," literally "to couple together, to form in pairs," from com- "with" (see com-) + parare "prepare" (see pare).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper