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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: 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.
: to make comparisons
If we now go to Italy at all, we go not to learn, but to compare.Norman Douglas
: to be equal or alike
Nothing compares to you.


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

Example Sentences

Verb 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Researchers compare how the placebo group responded with those who got a real drug. Rita Zeidner, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2023 As part of assessing your technical debt compare yourself against who are the leaders and innovators in your industry. Betsy Atkins, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 For those in awe of the power of love, compare your relationship to Kansas's impressive Monument Rocks. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 23 Jan. 2023 The Ukrainian archivists and curators who are busy trying to account for their losses compare Russia’s art theft to that of the Nazis, who looted Kherson’s museums during the nearly three years of German occupation, from 1941 to 1944. Anna Nemtsova, The Atlantic, 21 Jan. 2023 Easily compare auto lenders using Car and Driver's auto financing tool. Elizabeth Rivelli, Car and Driver, 18 Jan. 2023 Larger species tend to live longer than small ones — compare an elephant’s life span (up to 70 years) to that of a hummingbird (up to five years), for instance. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Jan. 2023 In this way, the researchers can compare the keys locked into the cell with those attached to something like a dust particle. Sarah Scoles, Scientific American, 13 Jan. 2023 Astronomers can also compare the four planets within the TOI 700 system to each other. Georgina Torbet, The Verge, 13 Jan. 2023
How does Justin Jefferson’s work ethic compare to Michael Irvin’s? Dallas News, 18 Nov. 2022 How does Gen X’s net worth compare to other generations? Ivana Pino, Fortune, 12 Nov. 2022 How does any of that [compare] to what people like Rudy Giuliani and others were doing? Kk Ottesen, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2022 How does the ruling compare to previous legal challenges? Daniel Kool,, 9 Oct. 2022 Leach’s development of the coaches underneath him was beyond compare. Staff Writer Follow, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2022 To home in on what makes woolly mammoths so unique, scientists played a highly complex game of compare and contrast. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 2 July 2015 Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 20 Dec. 2022 How does this latest investment compare with previous funding rounds? Eric Smith, Outside Online, 24 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

Word History


Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use


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


1589, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near compare

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
com·​pare kəm-ˈpa(ə)r How to pronounce compare (audio)
compared; comparing
: to describe as similar
compare an anthill to a town
: to examine in order to discover likenesses or differences
compare two bicycles
: to be worthy of comparison
roller-skating does not compare with ice-skating
: to appear in comparison to others
compares well with the rest of the class
: to inflect or modify (an adjective or adverb) according to the degrees of comparison


2 of 2 noun
: the possibility of comparing
beauty beyond compare

More from Merriam-Webster on compare

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