- to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences: to compare two pieces of cloth; to compare the governments of two nations.
- to consider or describe as similar; liken: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?”
- Grammar. to form or display the degrees of comparison of (an adjective or adverb).
- to be worthy of comparison; be held equal: Dekker's plays cannot compare with Shakespeare's.
- to appear in a similar standing: His recital certainly compares with the one he gave last year.
- to differ in quality or accomplishment as specified: Their development compares poorly with that of neighbor nations.
- to vie; rival.
- to make a comparison: The only way we can say which product is better is to compare.
- comparison: Her beauty is beyond compare.
- compare notes. note(def 32).
Origin of compare
- (tr usually foll by to) to regard or represent as analogous or similar; likenthe general has been compared to Napoleon
- (tr usually foll by with) to examine in order to observe resemblances or differencesto compare rum with gin
- (intr usually foll by with) to be of the same or similar quality or valuegin compares with rum in alcoholic content
- (intr) to bear a specified relation of quality or value when examinedthis car compares badly with the other
- (intr usually foll by with) to correspond toprofits were £3.2 million. This compares with £2.6 million last year
- (tr) grammar to give the positive, comparative, and superlative forms of (an adjective)
- (intr) archaic to compete or vie
- compare notes to exchange opinions
- comparison or analogy (esp in the phrase beyond compare)
Word Origin for compare
late 14c., from Old French comparer (12c., Modern French comparer), from Late Latin comparare "to liken, to compare" (see comparison). Related: Compared; comparing. To compare notes is from 1708. Phrase without compare (attested from 1620s, but similar phrasing dates to 1530s) seems to be altered by folk etymology from compeer "rival."
In addition to the idiom beginning with compare
- compare notes
- beyond compare