a person or thing that is equal.

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

Origin of equal

1350–1400; Middle English (adj.) < Latin aequālis equal, like, equivalent to aequ(us) even, plain, just + -ālis -al1
Related formsnon·e·qual, adjective, nounqua·si-e·qual, adjectivequa·si-e·qual·ly, adverbsub·e·qual, adjectivesub·e·qual·ly, adverb

Synonyms for equal

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.

Antonyms for equal

Usage note

1–9. See unique.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for equal

Contemporary Examples of equal

Historical Examples of equal

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, etcall men are equal before the law
having uniform effect or applicationequal opportunities
evenly balanced or proportionedthe 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 (def. 3a)


a person or thing equal to another, esp in merit, ability, etche has no equal when it comes to boxing

verb equals, equalling or equalled or US equals, equaling or equaled

(tr) to be equal to; correspond to; matchmy offer equals his
(intr usually foll by out) to become equal or level
(tr) to make, perform, or do something equal toto equal the world record
(tr) archaic to make equal
Derived Formsequally, adverb

Word Origin for equal

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


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
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 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

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.