com·​pare | \ kəm-ˈper How to pronounce compare (audio) \
compared; comparing

Definition of compare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to represent as similar : liken Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?— William Shakespeare
2a : to examine the character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or differences compare your responses with the answers
b : to view in relation to He is tall compared to me. The test was easy compared with the last one.
3 : to inflect or modify (an adjective or adverb) according to the degrees of comparison : state the positive, comparative, and superlative forms of

intransitive verb

1 : to bear being compared The two don't even begin to compare. We bought two different brands of peanut butter to see how they compare.
2 : to make comparisons If we now go to Italy at all, we go not to learn, but to compare.— Norman Douglas
3 : to be equal or alike Nothing compares to you.



Definition of compare (Entry 2 of 2)

: the possibility of comparing beauty beyond compare also : something with which to be compared a city without compare

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Synonyms & Antonyms for compare

Synonyms: Verb

analogize, assimilate, bracket, equate, liken

Antonyms: Verb


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Choose the Right Synonym for compare


compare, contrast, collate mean to set side by side in order to show differences and likenesses. compare implies an aim of showing relative values or excellences by bringing out characteristic qualities whether similar or divergent. compared the convention facilities of the two cities contrast implies an emphasis on differences. contrasted the computerized system with the old filing cards collate implies minute and critical inspection in order to note points of agreement or divergence. data from districts around the country will be collated


compare and contrast mean to look closely at something in order to show likenesses and differences. compare is used for showing the likenesses between two or more things. Compare these sofas for size and comfort. contrast is used for showing the differences and especially the characteristics which are opposite. She finds it easy to contrast country and city life.

Examples of compare in a Sentence


The singer's voice has been compared to that of Elvis. We each did the homework assignment, then compared answers. I compared several bicycles before buying one.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The problem, in part, is that the penalties for misuse of the whip are trifle compared to a jockey’s financial incentives to improve his place in a race. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Horse racing should make whip violations more painful for jockeys," 10 June 2019 Indiana also turned the ball over eight times in the half, compared to just one turnover by the Mercury. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "WNBA: Size of Phoenix Mercury proves too much for Indiana Fever," 9 June 2019 In high school, 66 percent of students received some sort of arts instruction in 2019, compared to 26 percent in 2009. Kellen Browning,, "As some districts zero in on test scores, Boston celebrates revitalized arts education," 9 June 2019 An official close to the investigation said Loza appeared relieved at the conditions of Santa Cruz County Jail compared to his incarceration in Mexico City. Michael Todd, The Mercury News, "16 years later, suspected Soquel killer returned to Santa Cruz," 8 June 2019 The party was the second-largest party in the outgoing parliament, but its vote share plunged to about 9% Wednesday, compared to 21.1% in 2015. Time, "Denmark's Social Democrats on Track to Return to Power as PM Concedes," 7 June 2019 The cost of renting privately has ballooned by up to 90% in the highest-paying areas of the country, compared to 70% in the areas with the lowest pay. Natalie Gil,, "Is The Big City Dream Over? High Rents Forcing Young To Stay Away," 7 June 2019 The Naomi boom saw Wowow open its 24-hour customer center lines during the tournament and add 58,000 subscribers that month, compared to 8,000 in August. Gavin J. Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, "Japan's Wowow Defies Streamers With 13th Year of Subscriber Growth," 7 June 2019 Last season, Cain walked 11.5% of the time, compared to 6.5% this season. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers look for leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain to return to being the 'engine' that drives offense," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

High-dollar boutique labels don’t mean much if the red wine’s served warm, the white wine gets no cooler, there’s no mention of decanting and the waiter can’t hold even elementary compare-and-contrast discussions. Mike Sutter,, "Zero-star review: Grey Moss Inn falls behind the times northwest of San Antonio," 6 June 2019 How does this compare to the country's fires in the past? Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Wildfires in Greece Kill Dozens Near Athens," 25 July 2018 But how does the sentimental, personal announcement of their first pregnancy compare to that of Kate Middleton and Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Charles, or even Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip? Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "How Meghan Markle's Pregnancy Announcement Compares to Kate Middleton and Princess Diana," 15 Oct. 2018 But this card's earning potential compares favorably to the best travel credit cards out there, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum Card. Ryan Craggs, Condé Nast Traveler, "The New SPG Luxury Credit Card Is Suddenly One of the Best Travel Credit Cards," 14 Sep. 2018 Prime is important to Amazon because Prime members shop more frequently, spend more per year and price-compare less than Amazon customers who aren’t Prime members. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Prime Day is more than a gimmick, it’s the single biggest event to expand Amazon’s defensive moat," 16 July 2018 The fallout from that privacy scandal has been enormous – but how does Google's breach compare? CBS News, "Google reportedly allows apps to scan some people's Gmail inboxes," 3 July 2018 That total compares with only nine for Obama at the same point in his first term. Brooks Jackson,, "Trump's Numbers (Second Quarterly Update) | FactCheck," 11 July 2018 John Wayne Airport had 893,668 passengers in April, an increase of 42,499 compare to last year. Anthony Clark Carpio,, "Hollywood Burbank Airport reports another increase in passenger numbers," 6 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of compare


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1589, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compare

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French comparer, from Latin comparare to couple, compare, from compar like, from com- + par equal

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More Definitions for compare



English Language Learners Definition of compare

: to say that (something) is similar to something else
: to look at (two or more things) closely in order to see what is similar or different about them or in order to decide which one is better
: to be as good or as bad as something else : to be on the same level or in the same category as something else


com·​pare | \ kəm-ˈper How to pronounce compare (audio) \
compared; comparing

Kids Definition of compare

1 : to point out as similar : liken She compared the activity of ants to the behavior of humans.
2 : to examine for similarity or differences Before buying compare the two bicycles.
3 : to appear in relation to others She compares well with the rest of the class.
4 : to state the positive, comparative, and superlative forms of an adjective or adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on compare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compare

Spanish Central: Translation of compare

Nglish: Translation of compare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compare for Arabic Speakers

Comments on compare

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