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

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

Examples of compare in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb YouTubers devised years ago a sort of standard speed test to compare new handsets. Chris Smith, BGR, 3 Oct. 2021 And construction is underway on a large store, Budders, which locals already compare to an Apple Store. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Critics argued that the disclosure statement needs to contain more details about the restricted and unrestricted assets of each local council, and how those values compare to what each council is proposing to contribute into the fund. Randall Chase, Chron, 22 Sep. 2021 However, state guidelines require developers compare vehicle miles traveled for their project against the average for the entire region, including dense, urban areas. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2021 Currier explains that the scanning AI would compare the patterns of connectivity inside Robin’s brain—his spontaneous brain activity—to a prerecorded template. Gish Jen, The New Republic, 17 Sep. 2021 An especially tempting analysis is at the county level — who won each county, by how much and how does that compare to previous election margins? Nami Sumida, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Sep. 2021 To fully understand, treat and prevent the new disorder, researchers need to document cases and compare symptoms. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 17 Sep. 2021 The claim: Photo comparison shows a glacier in the Arctic before climate change and now On Aug. 29, political scientist Ian Bremmer shared side-by-side images that compare how an Arctic glacier has changed over time. Devon Link, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Only two teams in franchise history compare: The 1912 New York Giants won 54 road games, the 1993 Giants 53. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Sep. 2021 How does training in retirement compare to training as a full-time professional runner? Taylor Dutch, SELF, 20 Sep. 2021 How does the Delta variant compare with other variants? Melissa Mahtani, CNN, 29 June 2021 How does the Delta variant compare with other variants? Melissa Mahtani, CNN, 29 June 2021 How does the Delta variant compare with other variants? Melissa Mahtani, CNN, 29 June 2021 How does sharing this with the public compare to the feeling of performing and finally releasing something like Schmigadoon? Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 6 Aug. 2021 This park is absolutely beyond compare and is a must for National Park enthusiasts. Liz Cantrell, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2021 How does writing a movie compare to writing jokes for the stage? Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, 21 June 2021

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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Learn More About compare

Time Traveler for compare

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near compare



compare and contrast

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Statistics for compare

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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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

Choose the Right Synonym for compare

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on compare

Nglish: Translation of compare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compare for Arabic Speakers


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