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

Algorithm’ As Netflix wades deeper into creating original series, employees have debated whether the algorithm should give those programs higher visibility compared with the reruns Netflix licenses. Joe Flint, WSJ, "At Netflix, Who Wins When It’s Hollywood vs. the Algorithm?," 10 Nov. 2018 White adults were more likely to use yoga and meditation compared with Hispanic and black adults. Eliza Barclay, Vox, "The growth of yoga and meditation in the US since 2012 is remarkable," 9 Nov. 2018 According to VoteCast, women voted considerably more in favor of their congressional Democratic candidate: About 6 in 10 voted for the Democrat, compared with 4 in 10 for the Republican. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "AP VoteCast: Trump a dominant force on voters’ minds," 7 Nov. 2018 According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as of 2017, the average Swede works 1,609 hours per year, compared with an average of 1,759 hours across the rest of the world. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, SELF, "The 8 Best Lessons I Learned Living the Lagom Life," 31 Oct. 2018 Friday, October 5 Today proceeds at a much slower pace compared to the day before. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "How bike advocate Katie Deolloz gets around Austin," 19 Oct. 2018 So Hobley and his colleagues calculated sublimation rates around the surface of the Jupiter moon and then compared those with the rates of other erosional processes. Mike Wall,, "Jupiter Moon Europa's Jagged Ice Towers Could Imperil Robot Landers," 8 Oct. 2018 Christians made up 63 percent of all refugee admissions in 2018, compared with 40 percent in 2017. Fox News, "Trump refugee policy leaves thousands stranded outside US," 7 Oct. 2018 While Eugenie's big day is (naturally) being widely compared to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's May wedding, the royal isn't all that concerned. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Princess Eugenie Shares a Throwback Picture of Her and Princess Beatrice as Bridesmaids," 7 Oct. 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

14 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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