comparative

adjective
com·​par·​a·​tive | \ kəm-ˈper-ə-tiv How to pronounce comparative (audio) , -ˈpa-rə-\

Definition of comparative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting the degree of comparison in a language that denotes increase in the quality, quantity, or relation expressed by an adjective or adverb The comparative form of happy is happier. The comparative form of clearly is more clearly.
2 : considered as if in comparison to something else as a standard not quite attained : relative a comparative stranger She's a comparative newcomer to the company.
3 : characterized by systematic comparison especially of likenesses and dissimilarities comparative anatomy a comparative analysis of the roles of women in different cultures

comparative

noun

Definition of comparative (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : one that compares with another especially on equal footing : rival
b : one that makes witty or mocking comparisons
2 : the comparative degree or form in a language The comparative of tall is taller.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from comparative

Adjective

comparatively adverb
comparativeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for comparative

Synonyms: Adjective

almost, approximate, near, relative

Antonyms: Adjective

absolute, complete, downright, out-and-out, outright, perfect, pure, unqualified

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of comparative in a Sentence

Adjective

She did a comparative study of classical and modern art. I'm taking a class in comparative anatomy. a comparative analysis of the roles of women in different cultures The comparative form of “happy” is “happier”; the comparative form of “good” is “better”; the comparative form of “clearly” is “more clearly.”

Noun

“Taller” is the comparative of “tall.”
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

California colleges would thus gain a comparative recruiting advantage over colleges in other states. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Does the NCAA's Threat to California Schools' Championship Access Hold Up?," 25 June 2019 Ever since David Ricardo came up with the theory of comparative advantage in 1817, economists have promoted trade. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "Economists don’t agree on much, but what they do agree on is being ignored," 25 June 2019 Companies had to change their accounting and reporting practices and train staff to process adjustments for inflation in addition to restating comparative figures in financial reports to reflect the loss of purchasing power of the Argentine peso. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Argentine Banks Stumble in Adoption of New Accounting Standard," 24 June 2019 While teaching comparative literature and French in the early 1950s at Bard College in the Hudson Valley, Mr. Botsford attended a cocktail party that changed the course of his life. Bill Morris, BostonGlobe.com, "Keith Botsford, man of letters and Saul Bellow associate, dies at 90," 18 June 2019 Sky Sports call improving their centre back options a 'top priority' for Man Utd this summer and highlight Diop's (comparative) cheapness compared to Koulibaly and Maguire, who could cost close to £100m. SI.com, "Issa Diop Joins Long List of Man Utd Defensive Targets With £45m-Plus-Player Offer," 15 June 2019 While teaching comparative literature and French in the early 1950s at Bard College in the Hudson Valley, Mr. Botsford attended a cocktail party that changed the course of his life. Bill Morris, New York Times, "Keith Botsford, Man of Letters and Saul Bellow Associate, Dies at 90," 14 June 2019 In the context of all that has recently happened, this latest scandal might seem easy to ignore in comparative magnitude. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "Remember Options Backdating? Nissan Gets Caught Using a Very Old CEO Pay Trick," 11 June 2019 Journal of Development Economics For comparative purposes, the paper looked at 533 projects worth $43.4 billion undertaken by the World Bank. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "China’s aid to African leaders’ home regions nearly tripled after they assumed power," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Why this matters: Reports from an independent testing organization like AV-Comparatives are important for the average PC user. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "AV-Comparatives' anti-phishing results for 2017 put Avast, Bitdefender, Fortinet, and Kaspersky on top," 1 Aug. 2017 Other poll comparatives from March fell like dominoes. David Paleologos, USA TODAY, "Paleologos on the poll: Replacing Obamacare is a sensitive 'Operation'," 29 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comparative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of comparative

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for comparative

Adjective

see compare entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about comparative

Statistics for comparative

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for comparative

The first known use of comparative was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for comparative

comparative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of comparative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: seeming to be something when compared with others
: involving the act of looking at the ways that things are alike or different
grammar : of or relating to the form of an adjective or adverb that is used to indicate more of a particular quality

comparative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of comparative (Entry 2 of 2)

: the comparative form of an adjective or adverb : the form of an adjective or adverb that is used to indicate more of a particular quality

comparative

adjective
com·​par·​a·​tive | \ kəm-ˈper-ə-tiv How to pronounce comparative (audio) \

Kids Definition of comparative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not entirely but more so than others : relative We live in comparative freedom.
2 : of or relating to the form of an adjective or adverb that shows an increase in the quality that the adjective or adverb expresses “Taller” is the comparative form of “tall.”

Other Words from comparative

comparatively adverb It was a comparatively easy hike.

comparative

noun

Kids Definition of comparative (Entry 2 of 2)

: the degree or form in a language that indicates an increase in the quality expressed by an adjective or adverb “Taller” is the comparative of “tall.”

comparative

adjective
com·​par·​a·​tive | \ kəm-ˈpar-ət-iv How to pronounce comparative (audio) \

Medical Definition of comparative

: characterized by the systematic comparison of phenomena and especially of likenesses and dissimilarities comparative anatomy the study of blood types by comparative analysis

Keep scrolling for more

comparative

adjective
com·​par·​a·​tive | \ kəm-ˈpar-ə-tiv How to pronounce comparative (audio) \

Legal Definition of comparative

: characterized by systematic comparison comparative contribution, which apportions according to…respective fault— W. L. Prosser and W. P. Keeton

Other Words from comparative

comparatively adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on comparative

What made you want to look up comparative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!