Definition of unequal in US English:



  • 1Not equal in quantity, size, or value.

    ‘two rooms of unequal size’
    ‘unequal odds’
    • ‘Burke's Reflections may be divided (for the author did not provide any formal divisions) into two portions of unequal length.’
    • ‘In our analyses, we do not attempt to quantify amounts of observed overlap because of unequal sample sizes.’
    • ‘Techniques for unequal sample sizes use modifications of critical values and standard errors.’
    • ‘The unequal sample sizes in the four respondent groups were noted.’
    • ‘As a result, a two-cell embryo with cells of unequal size was formed.’
    • ‘The century of crisis divides into two periods of unequal length.’
    • ‘Regression analyses were preformed to determine whether basal area and density were affected by the unequal plot sizes.’
    • ‘The word ‘scalene’ is used to describe a triangle with sides of unequal lengths.’
    • ‘The net present value, as a ranking criterion, can distort comparisons among competing projects of unequal investment size.’
    • ‘Cargoes were of unequal value, and the profit margin surely much higher for some than for others.’
    • ‘This issue appears to be important only when there are very few subpopulations of unequal size, and it is addressed by the simulation study below.’
    • ‘The x- and y-axes represent the entire yeast genome consisting of 16 chromosomes of unequal length.’
    • ‘But the most depressing reality in this morbid calculus is the unequal value of lives.’
    • ‘The book is divided into eight sections of unequal size.’
    • ‘He picked through cards and dice and handkerchiefs until he found three ropes of unequal lengths.’
    • ‘The two wings of a given seed may be essentially equal in size, but more often are unequal.’
    • ‘Moreover, if Mr. Lister is worried about schools of unequal size being formed, why wasn't Harrington Sound Primary trimmed back from its current three streams to two?’
    • ‘One extension made in this article is to allow for unequal population size between the two habitats, a case treated in the past only for the limits of very large or very small migration.’
    • ‘The volume provides a wealth of information but with interpretation of unequal value and without a clear conceptual framework.’
    • ‘Often, the spines are grossly unequal in size, and some or all may bear petal-like flanges proximally or distally.’
    different, differing, dissimilar, unlike, unalike, unidentical, disparate, not uniform, unmatched, not matching
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    1. 1.1 Not fair, evenly balanced, or having equal advantage.
      ‘the ownership of capital is unequal in this country’
      • ‘How can the problem with unequal distribution of wealth be solved without developing countries destroying their natural resource basis?’
      • ‘That unequal distribution of income exacerbated an already widening gulf in income.’
      • ‘It was a social relationship characterized by an unequal distribution of power and resources.’
      • ‘But for all that Bush needed him, the relationship remained unequal.’
      • ‘Land distribution is among the most unequal in Latin America.’
      • ‘But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.’
      • ‘As a result, an unequal distribution of power long has been perpetuated in the nurse-physician relationship.’
      • ‘The unequal distribution of power between managers and workers is the basic cause of the conflict between them.’
      • ‘It is taxation by the back door, but it is an unequal and largely regressive tax.’
      • ‘I think the increasingly unequal distribution of the wage share itself is also contributing to the sour political mood.’
      • ‘We live in an increasingly interconnected world which is also increasingly unequal in its distribution of global wealth.’
      • ‘This only ends up securing unequal, repressive, and intolerant societies.’
      • ‘I think that the problem is the unequal distribution in the economy.’
      • ‘Public health action takes place on a terrain of contested meanings and unequal power, where different knowledges struggle for control.’
      • ‘What was the role of the media in creating those unequal conditions?’
      • ‘Politics is about the unequal distribution of power, the abuse of power and the struggles to resist and dissolve power.’
      • ‘Power is always an asymmetrical relationship based on different knowledge and its unequal distribution.’
      • ‘Then I got riled about the unequal distribution of wealth, and the exploitation of the working class.’
      • ‘It can be difficult, even a bit threatening, to face the ways an unequal system gives us advantages that are denied to others.’
      • ‘In the past decade, the already notoriously unequal distribution of wealth has become even more disproportionate.’
      unfair, unjust, random, disproportionate, inequitable, biased, prejudiced
      one-sided, uneven, unfair, unjust, inequitable, ill-matched, unbalanced, lopsided
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  • 2predicative Not having the ability or resources to meet a challenge.

    ‘she felt unequal to the task before her’
    • ‘You may feel unequal to the task of being a mother.’
    • ‘It was obvious to everyone in Washington that the existing navy was unequal to the task of effective blockade.’
    • ‘When the time comes for classical elements like story and character to take over, they are unequal to the task.’
    • ‘Having proven themselves unequal to the task of assessing the need for the vaccine in the first place, they are now proving themselves unequal to the task of administering it.’
    • ‘His considerable discussions of sexuality are conspicuously free from prudery, so frank that he feared being read by people whose minds were unequal to the seriousness of the subject.’
    • ‘To attack this amorphous target the Kriegsmarine applied all its resources over the winter of 1940-1, but they were unequal to the task.’
    • ‘His father having died years before, Buck is suddenly alone, and pathetically unequal to the task.’
    • ‘Yet try as they might, their weary mounts were unequal to their demands.’
    • ‘There was little in the way of theory or methodology to support it - merely a sense that by themselves the individual disciplines were unequal to the task of analyzing a culture in search of itself.’
    • ‘And if you find him unequal to the task, change him and bring somebody else.’
    • ‘Where law enforcement agencies are unequal to a task, it is the community that should rise as a man to fill in the breach.’
    • ‘Bush is determined to keep the dynamism vibrant and to encourage and empower the poor to take part in it, rather than to suggest that they are unequal to the task.’
    • ‘Many women corporators find themselves unequal to the task.’
    • ‘When his government proved unequal to the challenges of post-cyclone relief and rehabilitation, the public demanded his replacement and Sonia had to relent.’
    • ‘For literary theoreticians, it is axiomatic that language is unequal to the task of encompassing reality.’
    • ‘The overanxious Punna was unequal to the task, his lack of high-level experience proving to be a major handicap.’
    • ‘The reality may be that any combination of politicians will be unequal to the task of managing progress in a country which relies so heavily on litigation as a means of conflict resolution.’
    • ‘Two of the mercenaries have taken it upon themselves to carry him, his diminutive legs being unequal to the task of running through marketplaces.’
    • ‘In some countries, especially those facing massive development challenges, even the military would be unequal to imposing legal order on a feral city.’
    • ‘But the baptismal water proved unequal to the task of washing away Benjamin Disraeli's innate orientalism of deportment.’
    inadequate for, insufficient for, incapable of, unqualified for, unsuited to, unfitted for, incompetent at, not up to, found wanting in
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  • A person or thing considered to be different from another in status or level.

    • ‘For Aristotle, equality meant equal treatment for equals and unequal treatment for unequals with respect to given qualities, a conception of fairness that virtually requires a very unequal society.’
    • ‘Certainly, relationships between unequals should not serve as the model for relationships between equals or vice versa.’
    • ‘And as an ancient sage once said, ‘Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.’’
    • ‘The reunification of the two nations into one country in 1990 was a seminal event in Ruhl's life, but he explains that the marriage of two unequals has been rocky.’
    • ‘The two routes to injustice are to treat equals unequally and unequals equally, to paraphrase Aristotle.’
    • ‘Plato said that you can never have agreements between unequals, and consequently, without economic convergence, the EU will never strike a fair balance with the East.’
    • ‘This fear carries a tragic weight: it diminishes the possibility of trust among unequals; it inhibits confidence in or surrender to the judgment of others.’
    • ‘Our participation involves us in a cooperative mutuality of unequals as we accept God's saving offer of divine life.’
    • ‘One could view this as an undesirable violation of the principle of horizontal equity, in that it gives equal treatment (the same credit amount) to unequals (families with different numbers of children).’
    • ‘Europeans think that Americans are on their way to betraying some of the elementary tenets of the Enlightenment, establishing a new principle in which they are ‘first among unequals.’’
    • ‘This relationship, and the obligations and virtues it involves, lacks three central features of relations between moral agents as understood by Kantians and contractarians - it is intimate, it is unchosen and it is between unequals.’
    • ‘Nothing demotivates people like the equal treatment of unequals.’
    • ‘Paternalism presumes sentimental relations will create justice between unequals.’
    • ‘It is a question of the relevance of the differential in the context where one has to treat unequals unequally.’
    • ‘My right palm ached severely more because it was a hand shake between two unequals.’
    • ‘Gant's story allowed for an interesting development in the relationship between sweet Carter and prickly Benton, a relationship that evolved over the years into a powerful bond between unequals.’
    • ‘Also, because of the emphasis placed on harmony between unequals in prestige, rank, and power, a negative evaluation may undermine harmonious relations.’
    • ‘The term ‘prestation’ indicates the inherent obligation and potential threat in gift exchange between unequals.’
    • ‘Before one can think of equality between unequals, the dwarf must be raised to the height of the giant.’
    • ‘The researchers' explanation is that freer expression of conflict occurs more among peers than among unequals.’