[ ee-kwuhl ]
See synonyms for: equalequalingequalledequalling on Thesaurus.com

  1. as great as; the same as (often followed by to or with): The velocity of sound is not equal to that of light.

  2. like or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc.; of the same rank, ability, merit, etc.:two students of equal brilliance.

  1. evenly proportioned or balanced: an equal contest.

  2. uniform in operation or effect: equal laws.

  3. adequate or sufficient in quantity or degree: The supply is equal to the demand.

  4. having adequate ability, means, or other characteristics: He was equal to the task.Their English boots were not equal to the rigors of a Canadian winter.

  5. tranquil or undisturbed: to confront death with an equal mind.

  6. impartial or equitable.

  7. Archaic. having an even surface; level: the treeless, equal plains.

  1. a person or thing that is equal to another, as in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability.

verb (used with object),e·qualed, e·qual·ing or (especially British) e·qualled, e·qual·ling.
  1. 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.

  2. to make or do something equal to: No matter how he tries, he can't equal his brother's achievements.

  1. Archaic. to make equal; equalize.

  2. Obsolete. to recompense fully.

Origin of equal

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English adjective from Latin aequālis “equal, like,” equivalent to aequ(us) “even, plain, just” + -ālis -al1

synonym study For equal

2. 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.

usage note For equal

1-8. See unique.

Other words for equal

Opposites for equal

Other words from equal

  • non·e·qual, adjective, noun
  • qua·si-e·qual, adjective
  • qua·si-e·qual·ly, adverb
  • sub·e·qual, adjective
  • sub·e·qual·ly, adverb

Words Nearby equal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use equal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for equal


/ (ˈiːkwəl) /

  1. (often foll by to or with) identical in size, quantity, degree, intensity, etc; the same (as)

  2. having identical privileges, rights, status, etc: all men are equal before the law

  1. having uniform effect or application: equal opportunities

  2. evenly balanced or proportioned: the game was equal between the teams

  3. (usually foll by to) having the necessary or adequate strength, ability, means, etc (for): to be equal to one's work

  4. another word for equivalent (def. 3a)

  1. a person or thing equal to another, esp in merit, ability, etc: he has no equal when it comes to boxing

verbequals, equalling or equalled or US equals, equaling or equaled
  1. (tr) to be equal to; correspond to; match: my offer equals his

  2. (intr usually foll by out) to become equal or level

  1. (tr) to make, perform, or do something equal to: to equal the world record

  2. (tr) archaic to make equal

Origin of equal

C14: from Latin aequālis, from aequus level, of obscure origin

usage For equal

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

Derived forms of equal

  • equally, adverb

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with equal


In addition to the idioms beginning with equal

  • equal to

also see:

  • other things being equal
  • separate but equal

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.