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


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

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 The idea is to analyze an object from two different perspectives and compare them against each other. John Mccormick, WSJ, "Bosch Deploys AI to Prevent Attacks on Cars’ Electronic Systems," 6 Jan. 2020 JetBlue will purchase its renewable fuel from Neste, a provider whose fuel is made from 100 percent waste materials and cuts the carbon footprint by up to 80 percent when compared to traditional fossil jet fuel. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "JetBlue Is the First U.S. Airline to Offset Emissions From All Domestic Flights," 6 Jan. 2020 Some compared him to Karla, the fanatical, but fictional, Soviet spymaster in John LeCarré's Cold War novels. Adam Taylor, Anchorage Daily News, "Qasem Soleimani: Who was Iran’s military leader?," 3 Jan. 2020 The entire field of applicants was narrowed down to 19 after comparing them to the results of the survey. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "2019 Stories of the Year: a state championship, a new athletic director/football coach and an undefeated regular season," 30 Dec. 2019 One archeologist compared it to the fall of the Soviet Union: the structure of life has changed, but the people are still there. Rachel Nolan, The New Yorker, "A Translation Crisis at the Border," 30 Dec. 2019 In Portland, a nine-month tally of ridership this year showed just under 1 million rides, a decline of some 800,000 rides when compared with a five-month period in 2018. Bruce Selcraig,, "Could scooter mania just blow over in San Antonio?," 30 Dec. 2019 The administrator counted the pills in the cart and compared it to the entries made by Haygood in the prescription log book. Arkansas Online, "Former nurse accused of stealing drugs at Arkansas nursing home," 28 Dec. 2019 Along with the secondary, Ramsey praised Tennessee’s front — comparing it to that of Nebraska. Stefan Krajisnik, Indianapolis Star, "IU prepares for Tennessee in Gator Bowl: 'Bowls are not to be taken for granted.'," 28 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun How would the number of lives saved by spending money on this compare to the number of that might be saved by spending equal sums on other measures? Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Fatal high-rise fire raises wider cost and benefit questions," 22 Dec. 2019 So how does this movie musical compare with the stage version? Tyler Coates, Wired, "Cats Is as Terrible as the Internet Guessed It Might Be," 19 Dec. 2019 How does this compare, difficulty-wise and stamina-wise? Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "'The Masked Singer' Dunks Thingamajig: 'I'm a Competitor at Heart'," 11 Dec. 2019 How does Indiana teacher pay compare with other states? Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Thousands expected for Red for Ed Action Day at the Statehouse. Here’s why they're marching.," 17 Nov. 2019 How does social compare with the other parts of ESG? Tom Freke And Caleb Mutua | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Who Put the ‘S’ in ‘ESG’ (and What Does It Mean)?," 8 Dec. 2019 And Maddon's career winning percentage compares favorably with Hall of Fame managers, including Joe Torre and Tony La Russa. Chad Yoder And Jonathon Berlin,, "How does Joe Maddon stack up against Hall of Fame managers? Check the numbers.," 2 Oct. 2019 How does early December compare to Christmas fares? Rick Seaney, USA TODAY, "There are 14 cheap days to fly left in 2019: When are they and what deals can you score?," 14 Nov. 2019 So how does methane compare to CO2 as a greenhouse gas? National Geographic, "Episode 5: March of the Beaver," 12 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for compare

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for compare

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for compare


How to pronounce compare (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compare

Spanish Central: Translation of compare

Nglish: Translation of compare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compare for Arabic Speakers

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