[ ee-kwuh-lib-ree-uhm, ek-wuh- ]
See synonyms for equilibrium on Thesaurus.com
noun,plural e·qui·lib·ri·ums, e·qui·lib·ri·a [ee-kwuh-lib-ree-uh, ek-wuh-]. /ˌi kwəˈlɪb ri ə, ˌɛk wə-/.
  1. a state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces.

  2. equal balance between any powers, influences, etc.; equality of effect.

  1. mental or emotional balance; equanimity: The pressures of the situation caused her to lose her equilibrium.

  2. Chemistry. the condition existing when a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction proceed at equal rates.

Origin of equilibrium

First recorded in 1600–10; from Latin aequilībrium, from aequi- equi- + lībr(a) “balance” + -ium -ium

Other words for equilibrium

Other words from equilibrium

  • e·quil·i·bra·to·ry [ih-kwil-uh-bruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, ee-kwuh-lib-ruh-, ek-wuh-], /ɪˈkwɪl ə brəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˌi kwəˈlɪb rə-, ˌɛk wə-/, adjective
  • non·e·qui·lib·ri·um, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use equilibrium in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for equilibrium


/ (ˌiːkwɪˈlɪbrɪəm) /

nounplural -riums or -ria (-rɪə)
  1. a stable condition in which forces cancel one another

  2. a state or feeling of mental balance; composure

  1. any unchanging condition or state of a body, system, etc, resulting from the balance or cancelling out of the influences or processes to which it is subjected: See thermodynamic equilibrium

  2. physics a state of rest or uniform motion in which there is no resultant force on a body

  3. chem the condition existing when a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction take place at equal rates

  4. physics the condition of a system that has its total energy distributed among its component parts in the statistically most probable manner

  5. physiol a state of bodily balance, maintained primarily by special receptors in the inner ear

  6. the economic condition in which there is neither excess demand nor excess supply in a market

Origin of equilibrium

C17: from Latin aequilībrium, from aequi- equi- + lībra pound, balance

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

Scientific definitions for equilibrium


[ ē′kwə-lĭbrē-əm ]

Plural equilibriums equilibria
  1. Physics The state of a body or physical system that is at rest or in constant and unchanging motion. A system that is in equilibrium shows no tendency to alter over time.♦ If a system is in static equilibrium, there are no net forces and no net torque in the system.♦ If a system is in stable equilibrium, small disturbances to the system cause only a temporary change before it returns to its original state.

  2. Chemistry The state of a reversible chemical reaction in which its forward and reverse reactions occur at equal rates so that the concentration of the reactants and products remains the same.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for equilibrium (1 of 2)


In economics, a state of the economy in which for every commodity or service (including labor), total supply and demand are exactly equal. Equilibrium is never actually attained; it is approximated by movements of the market.

Notes for equilibrium

Keynesian economics departed from conventional economic theory in demonstrating that economic equilibrium and full employment need not occur together. Therefore, as a system tends toward equilibrium, it might not eliminate unemployment.

A condition in which all influences acting cancel each other, so that a static or balanced situation results. In physics, equilibrium results from the cancellation of forces acting on an object. In chemistry, it occurs when chemical reactions are proceeding in such a way that the amount of each substance in a system remains the same. (See chemical equilibrium.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.