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 According to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters, the county elections office will compare your signature on your ballot envelope to the one on your driver's license/state ID or the one provided when registering. Erin Rode, USA TODAY, "In California: State discourages trick-or-treating; GOP says it may add more ballot drop boxes," 14 Oct. 2020 The tires most closely compare to the consumer Eagle F1 all-season Goodyear tire and Juan Pablo Montoya assisted on their final development 10 years ago. Jenna Fryer,, "NASCAR champion Kyle Busch tries to stave off elimination," 10 Oct. 2020 And his season statistics compare favorably to Daniel Jones, who also was drafted in the first round last season and remains the Giants starter. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, "Doug Williams believes Dwayne Haskins can overcome being benched in Washington," 9 Oct. 2020 Defending Amari Cooper, Micahel Gallup and CeeDee Lamb doesn’t compare to Colts receivers Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "What’s next for the Cleveland Browns? Previewing the Indianapolis Colts and how they match up," 5 Oct. 2020 Never compare a biological parent and a new partner. Jann Blackstone, Star Tribune, "Should child call dad's new girlfriend 'Mom'?," 4 Oct. 2020 Parents can also compare laws with rules kids have to follow at home. Cassandra Spratling, National Geographic, "Talking to kids about the election," 29 Sep. 2020 Read this:How do 2020-21 Kentucky basketball players compare to former Cats who wore their numbers? Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "John Calipari analyzes every former Kentucky basketball star in the 2020 NBA Finals," 30 Sep. 2020 Researchers would compare the effect on participants’ health and economic situation to that of residents who didn’t get payments. David Harrison, WSJ, "Cities Experiment With Remedy for Poverty: Cash, No Strings Attached," 29 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun How does the current pandemic compare to the 1918 Spanish flu? Byron Mccauley, The Enquirer, "At 107, Bea Lea still likes red lipstick, urges goodness," 2 Oct. 2020 How does the momentum and kinetic energy of this supersonic baseball compare to a bullet? Rhett Allain, Wired, "The Cool Physics of a Supersonic Baseball," 23 Sep. 2020 How does the stress of the last six months because of the pandemic compare to some of this nation’s other big stressful events in history? Laura Johnston, cleveland, "Why did Donald Trump supporters boo Lt. Gov. Jon Husted? This Week in the CLE," 22 Sep. 2020 How does Chase Freedom Flex compare to other cards? Taylor Medine, USA TODAY, "Chase's new credit card has big-time benefits without an annual fee," 15 Sep. 2020 After finishing the book, Belle and the girl compare dresses, swirling together amid the haze. oregonlive, "Superheroes emerge at Holiday Farm fire evacuation site, offering hope to evacuees of Oregon wildfires," 11 Sep. 2020 How does the reality of releasing your debut novel compare with your vision? Shawna Seed, Dallas News, "Trauma of Korean War reverberates in ‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’," 2 Sep. 2020 Reviews over the years on their Facebook page compare prices of all kinds of prescription drugs to those in the US, with commenters from as far as New Jersey and Texas. Caitlin Hu, CNN, "With Canada and Mexico borders closed, Americans are trapped in their own healthcare system," 31 Aug. 2020 How did the season 2 set compare to the season 1 set, with all the period-piece elements? Christian Holub,, "The Umbrella Academy star discusses her surprise season 2 return," 31 July 2020

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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 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

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.

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Comments on compare

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