com·pare | \ kəm-ˈper \
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

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

International deals in the first half of 2018 nearly doubled compared with the same period last year. Patricia Cohen,, "Paychecks lag as profits soar, and prices erode wage gains," 14 July 2018 This year, hiring of teenagers got off to a strong start in May, although the pace slowed slightly in June compared with last year. Ann Carrns, New York Times, "The Virtues of a Summer Job," 13 July 2018 Costello cites his long history in Volusia County compared with Waltz and Ward, who both live outside the current district in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach, respectively. Steven Lemongello,, "Congress District 6: Where 6 candidates stand on issues," 13 July 2018 Chinese investment in the U.S. in 2017 fell by more than 90%, compared with the year before, in large part due to Washington’s blocking deals that could weaken America’s strategic advantage. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 Starbucks does cover in-store hourly employees, but only for six weeks for new mothers, compared with 18 for salaried workers. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Paid family leave: While US lags behind, more states set policies," 12 July 2018 Fall 2017 saw nearly 4,900 students from California, compared with 1,490 in fall 2008. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Arizona universities got a boost in admissions from California in the past decade," 12 July 2018 The low inventory may explain why fewer homes were sold in June, 4,230 compared with 4,509 a year earlier. Meredith Cohn,, "With inventory tight, home prices continue to rise in Baltimore region," 11 July 2018 Drillinginfo said mergers and acquisition in the oil and gas industry were valued at $30 billion in first six months of this year, compared with $45 billion in the first half of 2017. Jordan Blum, San Antonio Express-News, "Oil, gas deal surge likely in coming months," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Marie Claire: How does season two compare to season one? Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Karamo Brown on 'Queer Eye' Season Two, the Fab Five, and Crying with Strangers in Restaurants," 4 June 2018 Lowe’s takes in more than five times as much revenue as Penney, and its market capitalization of roughly $73 billion compares with less than $1 billion for the department-store chain. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "J.C. Penney CEO Quits to Join Lowe’s," 22 May 2018 How does that compare to homicide arrests among nonimmigrants during the same time period? Meg Kelly, Washington Post, "Fact-checking President Trump’s numbers on the ‘human toll of illegal immigration’," 6 July 2018 How does working in television compare to working in movies? Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / Television An interview with cinematographer turned director Ernest Dickerson," 22 June 2018 Anyway, how did the pleasure of playing a mellow Steinway grand in a hospital lobby once a week compare with what this couple must be doing for each other daily? Len Lyons,, "Playing piano at Dana-Farber, he sees improvisation is not just for jazz," 12 June 2018 So how does her glittering headpiece compare to the pantheon of royal bridal tiaras? Brittany Talarico,, "The Meaning Behind Meghan Markle's Wedding Tiara: How It Pays Tribute to Her New Royal Family," 19 May 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


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


see compare entry 1

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Statistics for compare

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compare

The first known use of compare was in the 14th century

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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 \
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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Comments on compare

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


the setting in which something occurs

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