[ ek-wi-tee ]
See synonyms for equity on Thesaurus.com
noun,plural eq·ui·ties.
  1. the quality of being fair or impartial; fairness; impartiality: the equity of Solomon.

  2. something that is fair and just: The concepts and principles of health equities and inequities are important to society as a whole.

  1. the policy or practice of accounting for the differences in each individual’s starting point when pursuing a goal or achievement, and working to remove barriers to equal opportunity, as by providing support based on the unique needs of individual students or employees.: Compare equality (def. 1).

  2. Law.

    • Also called chan·cer·y [chan-suh-ree, chahn-] /ˈtʃæn sə ri, ˈtʃɑn-/ . the application of the dictates of conscience or the principles of natural justice to the settlement of controversies.

    • Also called chan·cer·y [chan-suh-ree, chahn-] /ˈtʃæn sə ri, ˈtʃɑn-/ . a system of jurisprudence or a body of doctrines and rules developed in England and followed in the U.S., serving to supplement and remedy the limitations and the inflexibility of the common law.

    • an equitable or legally valid right or claim.

  3. the monetary value of a property or business beyond any amounts owed on it in mortgages, claims, liens, etc.: Over the years, they have carefully avoided tapping into their home equity for unnecessary expenses.

  4. Informal. ownership, especially when considered as the right to share in future profits or appreciation in value.

  5. the interest of the owner of common stock in a corporation.

  6. (in a margin account) the excess of the market value of the securities over any indebtedness.

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

word story For 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.

Other words for equity

1 disinterest, justness, objectivity, equitability, fair-mindedness, evenhandedness; justice
See synonyms for equity on Thesaurus.com

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

How to use equity in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for equity (1 of 2)


/ (ˈɛkwɪtɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. the quality of being impartial or reasonable; fairness

  2. an impartial or fair act, decision, etc

  1. 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

  2. law an equitable right or claim: equity of redemption

  3. the interest of ordinary shareholders in a company

  4. the market value of a debtor's property in excess of all debts to which it is liable

Origin of equity

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

British Dictionary definitions for Equity (2 of 2)


/ (ˈɛkwɪtɪ) /

  1. the actors' trade union: Full 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)


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


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.