Definition of equal in English:

equal

adjective

  • 1Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.

    ‘add equal amounts of water and flour’
    ‘1 liter is roughly equal to 1 quart’
    • ‘The film has its fascinating and tedious elements, in nearly equal measure.’
    • ‘Night and day are in perfect balance, only twice a year do day and night become equal in length.’
    • ‘For example, a student knows that 32 degrees Fahrenheit is freezing and is equal to 0 degrees Celsius.’
    • ‘Milk should be frozen in portions approximately equal to the amount needed for one or two feedings.’
    • ‘The amount of money taken in was roughly equal to the amount of money paid out.’
    • ‘Few of the items produced within the country are considered equal in quality to foreign products.’
    • ‘Several forms of verbal therapy have roughly equal effects, he noted.’
    • ‘This team observed that fatty meals produce as much reflux over six hours as a balanced meal with an equal number of calories.’
    • ‘York-based Northern Spirit are recruiting 50 new drivers and say they want an equal number of applications from both sexes.’
    • ‘Nearly equal amounts of the hormone are derived from the adrenal glands and the ovaries.’
    • ‘Everywhere you look, this concept inspires admiration and trepidation in almost equal measure.’
    • ‘In very rare cases, the right and left groove appear equal in size.’
    • ‘He also knows the critical letters will be balanced by an equal number of friendly letters.’
    • ‘Trim off the ends of each package and slice each into five equal portions.’
    • ‘The amount of the deduction is equal to the value of the stock contributed.’
    • ‘We begin with a law of international relations: no action involving two countries has equal effects on each.’
    • ‘But it is still not clear how to find an efficient allocation in which the value of consumption is equal to income for all consumers.’
    • ‘In estimating, it can be assumed that the yield of the concrete will be approximately equal to the quantity of gravel used.’
    • ‘Overall, the acts and scenes comprising the narrative of folktales of this type are roughly equal in length.’
    • ‘The sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles.’
    identical, uniform, alike, like, the same, one and the same, equivalent, indistinguishable
    equivalent, identical, amounting
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of people) having the same status, rights, or opportunities.
      • ‘Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’
      • ‘This experience reinforced American egalitarianism, the belief that everyone is equal in status.’
      • ‘Women are finally becoming equal with men and not before time.’
      • ‘Legislation giving women status as equal partners in marriage was passed in 1993.’
      • ‘We are taught that all men are created equal in the eyes of God and there is only one God.’
      • ‘No one is above the law and everyone is equal before the law.’
      • ‘Can citizens be considered equal if they possess very different degrees of economic power?’
      • ‘French authorities contend the principle of secularism is meant to make everybody equal.’
      • ‘The thesis is that in traditional Aboriginal societies, women were equal to men and treated with respect.’
      • ‘In respect to civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.’
      • ‘Under a human-rights focused democracy, all people are equal before the law.’
      • ‘Weren't women already equal in the eyes of the law?’
      • ‘Until gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people are fully equal under law, we are second-class citizens.’
      • ‘He is not equal in status to the other citizens.’
      • ‘"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, " it declared.’
      • ‘All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’
      • ‘We're all more or less equal: let the calculators do the dividing.’
    2. 1.2Uniform in application or effect; without discrimination on any grounds.
      ‘a dedicated campaigner for equal rights’
      • ‘Student Services created Services for Students with Disabilities to provide equal access and opportunities to students with disabilities.’
      • ‘I asked for equal rights and opportunities and I tried my hardest to achieve it.’
      • ‘Although people claim there is an even playing field now and all access to opportunities is equal, it's not yet true.’
      • ‘What we advocate is not that everyone is the same, but rather, all should have equal access to opportunity.’
      • ‘I will do everything in my power to fight for fair and equal treatment.’
      • ‘The report found pregnancy discrimination, equal pay, harassment, access to employment and promotion, and dismissal as causes of complaint.’
      • ‘As adults we all have equal status - not economically, not in terms of our beauty, our background or how nice our parents are, but in terms of our rights.’
      • ‘They also indicated in large numbers that they hoped to end segregation and discrimination and receive equal, just, and fair treatment.’
      • ‘Labour health spokesperson Liz McManus said the party was committed to providing equal access to a high-quality health service.’
      • ‘The primary goal of school reform must be to provide more equal education opportunities.’
      • ‘Equal pay is also historically significant in the context of age and race.’
      • ‘You must have been playing this ‘ignorance is bliss’ game for a while now if you believe that we all have equal rights and opportunities here.’
      • ‘These valuable resources will be managed through a local community structure working on the ethos of equal access to opportunities for all.’
      • ‘After all, these were just two small units in a vast country where every Soviet citizen enjoyed equal rights and opportunities.’
      • ‘Instead, all property should be owned collectively, and all people should have equal social and economic status.’
      • ‘In the 1960s she worked to improve women's access to education and training and to promote equal pay and opportunity.’
      • ‘A professional equal opportunities approach must underpin appointments, otherwise the same old faces will reappear.’
      • ‘Article 26 provides that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.’
      • ‘Until the achievement of equal pay in 1974, men fared better than women.’
      • ‘No one is safe unless and until we all share equal protection under the same laws.’
      • ‘I admit that I prefer working with men and I am in favour of equal employment opportunities.’
    3. 1.3Evenly or fairly balanced.
      ‘it was hardly an equal contest’
      • ‘War serves a good purpose when it is an equal fight.’
      • ‘At first, it seemed reasonable; everyone had fairly equal responsibilities, which I noted she never bothered with herself.’
      • ‘The scrum is supposed to be an equal contest and you would expect a pack of 900 kg to dominate a pack of 800 kg.’
      • ‘I'm no great fan of his but I do like to see an equal contest and I don't think that's what we're getting in this campaign.’
      • ‘Will ‘close’ allies be persuaded to buy the US technologies as the price of a more equal relationship on the ground?’
      • ‘It is difficult to foster and feed the kind of balanced, equal relationship that can sustain us into the future.’
      • ‘The duel - more equal and balanced in the play than in the film, where the camera unfairly favours Nicholson - is a showdown between two opposed acting styles.’
      • ‘You cannot sort of just parachute in without opportunity for open and equal competition as part of the process.’
  • 2[predicative] Having the ability or resources to meet (a challenge)

    ‘the players proved equal to the task’
    • ‘He soon proved himself more than equal to the demands of combat soldiering.’
    • ‘The people of York have proved themselves equal to the task.’
    • ‘With her comprehensive research, sound analysis, and engaging style, Williams proves herself equal to the task.’
    • ‘Against the wind in the second half, Confey now had to face a far tougher challenge but they were equal to the task.’
    • ‘After reading the screenplay Stalin noted, " comrade Eisenstein proved himself equal to the task".’
    • ‘I just don't feel equal to the challenge that I'm facing now.’
    capable of, fit for, up to, good enough for, strong enough for, adequate for, sufficient for, ready for
    suitable for, suited to, appropriate for
    up to scratch, having what it takes
    View synonyms

noun

  • A person or thing considered to be the same as another in status or quality.

    ‘we all treat each other as equals’
    ‘it was a day without equal in market history’
    • ‘But generally, the standard is high - these funny and charming wannabes are the equal of many stand-ups I've seen on the circuit.’
    • ‘Indeed, one of the fundamental demands of striking workers in the preceding years was to be treated as the equal of their masters.’
    • ‘Bergerac has an under-appreciated white wine, Monbazillac, that is almost the equal of many Sauternes and much less expensive.’
    • ‘The SAS is Great Britain's most elite force, the equal of any special forces group in the world.’
    • ‘The stairways and the timbers used have had few equals in the present day.’
    • ‘He was now a land owner - the equal of his former employers.’
    • ‘I think that winning the Champions League would allow us to step up to another level and to become the equal of the great European clubs.’
    • ‘She had never done so before, but she doubted that she was meant to be his intellectual equal anymore.’
    • ‘Consider the statement: Women are, and should be treated as, the equals of men.’
    • ‘Now we can negotiate as equals with the administration.’
    • ‘In the United States, most things are done by the private sector, and most things here are at least the equal of their counterparts everywhere in the world.’
    • ‘I've eaten at a lot of Chinese restaurants on three different continents, and this was easily the equal of the best of them.’
    • ‘In any event, the dishes were the equal of anything I've ever tasted anywhere in the world.’
    • ‘Marina, on the other hand, is pretty, uninhibited, and not Holly's intellectual equal.’
    • ‘I consider myself one of the best producers in New York, and she's easily my equal, if not my superior.’
    • ‘In the pantheon of funnymen, Rodney was, and still is, without equal.’
    • ‘Vegetarians' concern for animals and their refusal to treat animals cruelly does not mean that they regard animals as equals.’
    • ‘A dozen short stories precede the novella, a reminder that while Updike may not be the equal of, say, Carver, in that genre he has few equals among his contemporaries.’
    • ‘For Juliet the relief must come from realising she has produced an album the equal of, if not better than, ‘Burn The Black Suit’.’
    • ‘At last, an intelligent email from an intellectual equal.’
    equivalent, peer, fellow, coequal, like
    mate, twin, alter ego, counterpart, match, parallel
    compeer
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Be the same as in number or amount.

    ‘four plus six divided by two equals five’
    ‘the total debits should equal the total credits’
    • ‘The first thing to note about the 8% figure quoted by the prime minister is that it does not equal the amount of total EU income spent on health care.’
    • ‘Total seed number per plant equals the sum of seeds over all mature fruits.’
    • ‘Daily calcium intake should equal approximately 1500 mg of elemental calcium.’
    • ‘The total amount of the invoice equalled the amount of finance available, namely £14.5 millions.’
    • ‘Your daily calorie intake should equal approximately 13 times your body weight if you're active.’
    • ‘But since equity equals assets minus total debt, a company decreases its equity by increasing debt.’
    • ‘A circle and square have an equal area only if the ratio between a side of the square and a radius of the circle equals the square root of pi.’
    • ‘Net consumption divided by total capital invested equals a rate of profit of 11.11%.’
    • ‘Yet 371 people were arrested, equaling approximately 40 people per incident.’
    • ‘The formula that represents power density is watts times time, divided by spot size, equals power density.’
    • ‘To emphasize the nature of rent as a surplus, George notes that wages plus returns to capital goods equal the total produce minus rent.’
    • ‘The cost would roughly equal the amount currently spent by oil companies on petroleum exploration and production.’
    • ‘Euler asserts that the sum of the harmonic series equals the natural logarithm of infinity plus a quantity that is nearly a constant.’
    • ‘Under our assumptions, $.50 divided by 1.5 equals $.33.’
    • ‘The amount equals the compensation the European Union is seeking for the impact of the tax breaks on businesses in the union.’
    • ‘Exports of such services equalled 0.6 percent of all exports of goods and services in 2000.’
    • ‘Table VII shows that the number of paper-cutting opportunities nearly equaled the total number of paper-folding opportunities in the ten textbooks.’
    • ‘Regional totals of disease incidence or patients receiving treatment often do not equal the sum of published country specific figures.’
    • ‘For example, total charges must equal total credits.’
    • ‘The net worth of the 30 richest Americans equals approximately $500 billion.’
    be equal to, be equivalent to, be the same as, correspond to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Match or rival in performance or extent.
      ‘he equaled the world record of 9.93 seconds’
      • ‘Browne's time in the 60m sprint equalled his best performance this year, which has him ranked in the top 10 nationally.’
      • ‘His fury at his compatriots is only equalled by his contempt for the Americans.’
      • ‘Graeme Smith's South Africa needed a win to equal Australia's world record of 21 unbeaten matches set in 2003.’
      • ‘The time of 2: 15.10 on a firm course equals the course record.’
      • ‘He already has equaled his stolen base total from 1999.’
      • ‘The record was not equalled until August this year by Arsene Wenger's awesome Arsenal side.’
      • ‘With the big serves in today's tennis, I'm not sure this match will ever be equalled.’
      • ‘The women's fourth-place finish equaled their best ever performance set at last year's conference meet while the men's fifth-place finish was one better than last year.’
      • ‘McEvoy equalled the course record and snatched the halfway lead, before tailing off.’
      • ‘He has now scored five tries in just three appearances this season, equalling his total for the entire 1998 season and out-stripping the two he managed last term.’
      • ‘This time the Trophy Match equalled the flawless performance of the other two.’
      • ‘At Goodwood today, it is odds-on that a horse will equal a feat not seen in 30 years.’
      • ‘How could he have done something to equal what I had done?’
      • ‘Airports consume land, energy and dumping capacity at rates rarely equalled anywhere else.’
      • ‘Unfortunately for Mackie, the men managed to equal that feat within the next two hours.’
      • ‘One of the main differences between the sides was that the losers could not equal the performances of a number of players in key positions.’
      • ‘Publicly, she may well claim she aims to smash her final imprint into the record book, equalling the record of 20 Wimbledon titles garnered by Billie Jean King.’
      • ‘His love of sport was only equalled by his developed love of history.’
      • ‘Five centuries - equalling the best ever total in a best-of - 25-frames match - were the highlights.’
      • ‘You were a true professional, whose paranoia equalled only my own.’
    2. 1.2Be equivalent to.
      ‘his work is concerned with why private property equals exploitation’
      • ‘What you mean cannot equal what you say, because words and meaning are not identical.’
      • ‘Personal trainer Paul Leong agrees that fitness without proper nutrition equals poor results in overall health and weight loss.’
      • ‘A danger to his property equaled a direct danger to him.’
      • ‘The kind of space that I want to create is one where men do not think that a short skirt equals consent.’
      • ‘Lost quality equals lost income, while the farmgate price for cereals continues to be depressed.’
      • ‘What these works reveal most vividly is that suburban history is, more than anything else, a story in which property equals power.’
      • ‘But to the extent that virility equals violence it is not a vital force but only a cover for the real frigidity.’
      • ‘In this case, as in English common law, silence equals consent.’
      • ‘Or as is said in economics, private benefit equals social benefit.’
      • ‘But I still don't understand why tragedy plus time equals profit.’
      • ‘The formula would be privatization plus deregulation equals efficiency.’
      • ‘The relationship between culture and society is not, as Okri appears to suggest, one of strict equivalence, as in great society equals great culture.’
      • ‘But in this industry, status does not necessarily equal dollars or employment.’
      • ‘Both universities have started educational campaigns to teach students that downloading copyrighted songs equals intellectual property theft.’
      • ‘Let's talk about this: no breathing equals no oxygen equals total exhaustion.’

Usage

It is widely held that adjectives such as equal and unique have absolute meanings and therefore can have no degrees of comparison. Hence they should not be modified, and it is incorrect to say more equal or very unique on the grounds that these are adjectives that refer to a logical or mathematical absolute. For more discussion of this question, see unique

Phrases

  • (the) first among equals

    • The person or thing having the highest status in a group.

      • ‘He will be the first among equals, but they will all have to prove themselves.’
      • ‘At their best, they are the best, first among equals.’
      • ‘The whole tenet on which Hauser bases his fascinating book is that the human species is, as it were, first among equals.’
      • ‘Although America might be first among equals, its conscious and unconscious existence is tightly coupled to experiences shared with its global neighbors.’
      • ‘They also recognize the Pope as the principal hierarch, the first among equals.’
      • ‘In the past, the Pope of Alexandria was merely the first among equals, and reform movements had foundered on the autonomy of Egypt's bishops.’
      • ‘This should be troubling, this complete lack of clear ideas from the man who will be our first among equals.’
      • ‘The official doctrine is that the prime minister is simply the first among equals, and the rule of collective responsibility emphasizes the collegial character of the cabinet.’
      • ‘As the first among equals, the Prime Minister will symbolically have his finger on the nuclear button.’
      • ‘Sorry Campbell, you may be the first among equals, but you ain't the boss.’
  • other (or all) things being equal

    • Provided that other factors or circumstances remain the same.

      ‘it follows that, other things being equal, the price level will rise’
      • ‘As for me, all other things being equal, I'd rather live longer and would not begrudge further longevity to others.’
      • ‘Time after time the courts have said that, all other things being equal, if the child has a good parent, that child should be with the parent.’
      • ‘Other things being roughly equal, Supreme Court Justices of all political persuasions are best served by like-minded clerks.’
      • ‘I'm sure all things being equal, he'd rather be someplace else.’
      • ‘It does not always provide for perfect justice or perfect security but, all things being equal, it is an improvement over the endless territorial and tribal wars that came before.’
      • ‘But all other things being equal, the view is that we feel that congestion charges are the most realistic way ahead.’
      • ‘One view is that if the planning system were abolished tomorrow, the general level of house prices, all other things being equal, would not change very much.’
      • ‘Because in economics, as you and I both know, if there's demand, prices are going to rise, all other things being equal.’
      • ‘So, all other things being equal, the left-handed trait, which is largely genetic, should have died out long ago in prehistory.’
      • ‘Once this finds an outlet through trade and specialisation, all things being equal, material progress follows.’
      in all likelihood, in all probability, as likely as not, very likely, most likely, likely, as like as not, ten to one, the chances are, doubtless, no doubt, all things considered, taking all things into consideration, all things being equal, possibly, perhaps, maybe, it may be, presumably, on the face of it, apparently
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin aequalis, from aequus even, level, equal.

Pronunciation:

equal

/ˈēkwəl/