Definition of compare in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

    ‘individual schools compared their facilities with those of others in the area’
    ‘the survey compares prices in different countries’
    ‘total attendance figures were 28,000, compared to 40,000 at last year's event’
    • ‘The report states that rates within the hospital are falling compared to other hospitals of similar size.’
    • ‘Each patch was then dried and the water areas measured and compared to sample weight.’
    • ‘Surely the price of dinner would be cheap compared to few days in an ICU unit.’
    • ‘They, however, said that the price range for small cars is high compared to other cars of the same group.’
    • ‘This equivalent nonconvertible bond price is then compared to the convertible bond price.’
    • ‘They differ over how serious these problems are, compared to capitalism's benefits.’
    • ‘The test was compared to one where similar cells were not exposed to such radio waves.’
    • ‘Premature babies are often compared to a different chart since they were born early.’
    • ‘Products carrying a strong brand usually attract a price premium compared to similar but unbranded products.’
    • ‘Those factors are reflected in the government's inflation measure, which simply compares price changes for a set list of items.’
    • ‘Then the results from the three labs need to be compared to see if the test is reliable.’
    • ‘Similar patterns were detected compared to those described above.’
    • ‘However, he feels that it is not fair for him to be compared to Mickey as both are very different artists.’
    • ‘These estimates of intrusion times may be compared to estimates based on magma supply through dykes.’
    • ‘A drawback in its use is the cost of measurement, although when compared to using molecular markers it is not very high.’
    • ‘Each dog is compared to the judge's mental image of the perfect specimen of that breed.’
    • ‘He commissioned a survey that would compare British prices with those in other countries.’
    • ‘In both countries opposition has increased compared to a similar survey last year.’
    • ‘The bupivacaine-inhibition test was also compared to the inhibitor-free test.’
    • ‘The wine list, again, was cheap compared to uptown prices and so we settled for a bottle of Brouilly at just under thirty bucks.’
    contrast, set side by side, juxtapose, collate, differentiate, weigh up, balance, balance the differences between, measure the differences between, weigh the differences between
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1compare something to Point out the resemblances to; liken to.
      ‘her novel was compared to the work of Daniel Defoe’
      liken, equate, analogize
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2compare something to Draw an analogy between one thing and (another) for the purposes of explanation or clarification.
      ‘he compared the religions to different paths toward the peak of the same mountain’
      • ‘You might think that this isn't a very good analogy, comparing prisons to a commercial passenger jet.’
      • ‘I like to use the analogy of comparing a campaign to a car.’
      • ‘If this does not come up promptly, the therapist asks if they would accept to compare their problem to whatever analogical image comes to the mind of the therapist.’
      • ‘We often compare the construction process to a military operation, but she prefers the analogy of a well choreographed ballet.’
      • ‘Shrugging these lofty analogies a bunch of students compared the roof to an inverted computer.’
      • ‘The central argument that illegal file swapping is a serious crime comes from an analogy that compares it to simple theft - that is, to going into a store to shoplift a CD by hiding it in one's jacket.’
      • ‘Luther, for example, frequently compared children to young trees, describing them as flexible and still amenable to being shaped.’
      • ‘In one of the more uncomfortable analogies I've ever heard, Reineke compares it to the singles life.’
      • ‘We use things like analogies and say well compare it to how a flower grows, or find a comparison that is an every day common experience that makes sense.’
      • ‘Indeed, it would be fairer to compare her to another insect - a busy, buzzy bumble bee.’
      • ‘He compares his subject to shoddy construction, and that's an analogy we can work with, because in software we're working at the thrilling edge of language and craftsmanship.’
      • ‘At the time I would have compared her to a whirlwind, for wherever she went chaos and confusion invariably followed.’
    3. 1.3no object, with adverbial Have a specified relationship with another thing or person in terms of nature or quality.
      ‘salaries compare favorably with those of other professions’
      • ‘To understand our new defense vision, we can view it in terms of how it compares to what came before; clearly, it differs from our former strategies.’
      • ‘While the quality compares poorly with developed countries, conditions are superior to what is available even a few miles outside the urban boundaries.’
      • ‘While return of 4.5 per cent is not particularly attractive, it compares favourably with term deposit rates from the bank, subject to your tax position.’
      • ‘We also compare unfavourably in relation to income distribution, which has a major influence on health.’
      • ‘For single people, Ireland now compares favourably in after-tax terms with most European countries.’
      • ‘The answer depends on you - or more precisely on how you compare with rivals for these jobs.’
      • ‘Backer board was developed several years ago as a clean and simple method and compares in quality to the traditional but difficult route of doing a mortar bed.’
      • ‘It remains to be seen how outcomes will compare with conventional approaches.’
      • ‘We discuss how the relation between income inequality and these physical and mental health conditions compares with the relation between family income and health.’
      • ‘He has been in the theatre for over 40 years and some of his work could favourably compare with the best in European theatre.’
      • ‘How do quality control practices compare with current regulatory requirements?’
      • ‘His nine-year sentence, as his attorney rightly points out, compares unfavourably to the terms handed out to robbers.’
      • ‘How does it compare with the thrills of early Microsoft?’
      • ‘How does the advice you give your clients compare with your own approach?’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see how this compares with the old one in terms of reliability and/or archive issues.’
      • ‘Bottom line, for me, is that it works, works quickly and, in terms of side-effects, compares favourably with, say, antidepressant medication.’
      be as good as, be nearly as good as, be comparable to, bear comparison with, be the equal of, match up to, be on a par with, be in the same class as, be in the same league as, be on a level with, compete with, come up to, come near to, come close to, hold a candle to, be not unlike, be not dissimilar to, equal roughly
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4no object, usually with negative Be of an equal or similar nature or quality.
      ‘sales were modest and cannot compare with the glory days of 1989’
      • ‘Nothing, though, will compare with competing in the Masters.’
      • ‘Our small market and the scale of companies can't compare with those in, say, Korea or the US.’
      • ‘As for the others, Elizabeth I deserves a high place, but most of the others don't quite compare with the three above.’
      • ‘This American artist has a fantastic voice but, unfortunately, her material doesn't compare with her vocal talent.’
      • ‘I know I knock it a lot, but the fact is, there's no other city in the world that compares in terms of culture, commerce, and energy.’
      • ‘The pear is its nearest rival, but its cool, smooth skin cannot compare with the warm knap of a peach.’
      • ‘Because if there were an experience to compare with that, I'm thinking it would be a rather undersubscribed activity.’
      • ‘Maybe you thought my pain and my loss couldn't possibly ever compare with yours.’
      • ‘The only thing approaching a standard to compare with the floppy is the CD-R which is an inconvenient form factor and scores low on ease of use.’
      • ‘Maybe the thrills just don't compare with the the countless sci-fi/horror movies hitting our screens from the states.’
      • ‘Many of the theoretical physicists who are alive today may not live to see how the real Nature compares with her mathematical description in their work.’
      • ‘While being an archivist cannot compare with the excitement of working for the security services, it most certainly is not dull.’
      • ‘In an interview with the Herald, he said there was nothing in Australia to compare with the limestone scenery around Craven.’
      • ‘Care home owners claim the financial cost of meeting the new standards cannot compare with the cash they are paid by local authorities to keep going.’
      • ‘When it came to tie holes, however, nothing could compare with the drama of the match.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, he was a political thinker of genius, one to compare with any of the great names of the 18th century.’
      • ‘None of his rivals had a record that even began to compare with his, but the past counted for nothing now.’
      • ‘There are few singers in Australia who can compare with her.’
      • ‘But that can't compare with the innovation and confidence that we see in Magnolia.’
      • ‘The small flaws do not begin to compare to the fine qualities of this disc.’
      be as good as, be nearly as good as, be comparable to, bear comparison with, be the equal of, match up to, be on a par with, be in the same class as, be in the same league as, be on a level with, compete with, come up to, come near to, come close to, hold a candle to, be not unlike, be not dissimilar to, equal roughly
      View synonyms
  • 2usually be comparedGrammar
    Form the comparative and superlative degrees of (an adjective or an adverb)

    ‘words of one syllable are usually compared by “-er” and “-est.”’


Traditionally, compare to is used when similarities are noted in dissimilar things: shall I compare thee to a summer's day? To compare with is to look for either differences or similarities, usually in similar things: compare the candidate's claims with his actual performance. In practice, however, this distinction is rarely maintained. See also contrast


  • compare notes

    • (of two or more people) exchange ideas, opinions, or information about a particular subject.

      • ‘In the course of casual conversation, they compare notes, share information, and swap impressions about business conditions.’
      • ‘Meet, greet, pump for information and meet outside to compare notes.’
      • ‘The exchange has allowed them to compare notes and learn from each other.’
      • ‘They've been exchanging opinions and comparing notes since the early 1980s.’
      • ‘Subject matter experts from each nation paired off to compare notes in areas such as maintenance, fire prevention and weapons storage.’
      • ‘The coaches do not waste their time here either: they compare notes and exchange experiences.’
      • ‘This offers an outstanding way to ‘cross-pollinate’ information by comparing notes in an environment that would force analysts to stand behind their work.’
      • ‘Recently I've been thinking a good bit about relationships, and comparing notes with friends on the subject.’
      • ‘I laughed and changed the subject, comparing notes on gifts we had bought for family and mutual friends.’
      • ‘He has no teammate to compare notes and ideas with.’
  • beyond (or without) compare

    • Of a quality or nature surpassing all others of the same kind.

      ‘a diamond beyond compare’
      • ‘Year One is an action-adventure story without compare.’
      • ‘The services provided by the splendid nurses were beyond compare.’
      • ‘It is a rendition beyond compare of timeless truths and of mystical dimensions.’
      • ‘It also means that Friday night is sweet beyond compare, because I've really put in a day.’
      • ‘The food, atmosphere and service are beyond compare!’
      • ‘Having lived there for nearly 30 years, I discovered a community spirit beyond compare.’
      • ‘Any licensee fortunate enough to receive praise from this esteemed tome can be guaranteed success beyond compare for years to come.’
      • ‘Off the field of play he has had his critics but on it, he is without compare.’
      • ‘Whether she is singing a traditional folk song, a ballad, or a song with a message, she is a singer without compare.’
      • ‘Everything about him had been perfect beyond compare, and I had thought that if things were going to change, they were only going to get better.’
      without equal, without match, without parallel, beyond comparison, second to none, in a class of one's own
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French comparer, from Latin comparare, from compar ‘like, equal’, from com- ‘with’ + par ‘equal’.