equity

[ ek-wi-tee ]
/ ˈɛk wɪ ti /

noun, plural eq·ui·ties.

Origin of equity

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English equite, equitee, equyte, from Old French equité, from Latin aequitāt-, stem of aequitās “evenness, smoothness, fairness”; see equi-, -ty2

historical usage of equity

Equity is a great example of a word that started out with a general sense that developed more specific senses over time, while still retaining the original meaning. The very first meanings of equity in English were a direct translation from the original Old French equité, a word whose Latin root means “even,” “just,” and “equal.”
It was not until the late 16th century that a new meaning—one that placed equity in the arena of law—emerged. Perhaps because many of the usages of equity involved legal disputes over rights and claims of ownership, by the turn of the 20th century, the word started being used in another sector: finance. It was at this point that terms such as “home equity” and “equity loan” became common finance terms. At the same time, equity started popping up in terms of stock and asset ownership.
In 1913, a small group of actors founded the labor union, Actors’ Equity Association—proof that the original sense of equity was still very much alive. This union, often referred to simply as “Equity” (with a capital E), fights for the rights of actors in the spirit of equity’s Latin roots.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for equity

British Dictionary definitions for equity (1 of 2)

equity
/ (ˈɛkwɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

the quality of being impartial or reasonable; fairness
an impartial or fair act, decision, etc
law a system of jurisprudence founded on principles of natural justice and fair conduct. It supplements the common law and mitigates its inflexibility, as by providing a remedy where none exists at law
law an equitable right or claimequity of redemption
the interest of ordinary shareholders in a company
the market value of a debtor's property in excess of all debts to which it is liable

Word Origin for equity

C14: from Old French equite, from Latin aequitās, from aequus level, equal

British Dictionary definitions for equity (2 of 2)

Equity
/ (ˈɛkwɪtɪ) /

noun

the actors' trade unionFull name: Actors' Equity Association
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

Cultural definitions for equity (1 of 2)

equity

A body of rules or customs based on general principles of fair play rather than on common law or statutory law.

Cultural definitions for equity (2 of 2)

equity

In real estate, the financial value of someone's property over and above the amount the person owes on mortgages. For example, if you buy a house for $100,000, paying $20,000 down and borrowing $80,000, your equity in the house is $20,000. As you pay off the principal of the loan, your equity will rise.

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.