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 If Steyer, financially, was a battleship compared to other candidates’ fishing boats, Bloomberg is an aircraft carrier. NBC News, "Who has more to fear from Bloomberg: The Democrats or Trump?," 25 Nov. 2019 The automobile associations expects 1.6 million more travelers on the road compared to last year, thanks in large part to lower gas prices. Holly Yan, CNN, "It's the busiest travel week of the year, and 20 million people face brutal winter weather. Here's what you need to know," 25 Nov. 2019 Novartis sees a host of benefits here compared to existing anti-cholesterol medicines, not least that inclisiran can be administered just twice a year during regular check-ups. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "This Biotech Deal Is a $10 Billion Leap of Faith," 25 Nov. 2019 According to the Associated Press, airlines have been adding hundreds of extra flights compared to the same period last year to keep up with increasing demand., "The worst time to hit the road," 25 Nov. 2019 The sequel earned an A- from audiences, compared to an A+ for Frozen; Despite critics seemingly not liking the new film as much as the first, that didn't seem to diminish interest. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office: 'Frozen 2' Opens to Fiery $127M in U.S., $350M Globally," 24 Nov. 2019 The sequel earned an A- from audiences, compared to an A+ for Frozen; Despite critics seemingly not liking the new film as much as the first, that didn't seem to diminish interest. Pamela Mcclintock, Billboard, "Box Office: 'Frozen 2' Opens to Fiery $127M in U.S., $350M Globally," 24 Nov. 2019 The same $10 bet for Boston to win by at least two goals would return a profit of $12.50 compared to the $4.50 return on the ML. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Minnesota Wild at Boston Bruins odds, picks and best bets," 23 Nov. 2019 The internet is small potatoes compared to listening to the weather report from Moose Jaw in the frozen north, or picking up Wolfman Jack from a Mexican station while driving down Highway 99 in the middle of the night. Carl Nolte,, "You know ’em — those awful jingles on the radio. They’re the real songs of San Francisco," 23 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 So, really, how does the Vladimir in the movie compare to the real thing? Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "How Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Tiara Made It into the Downton Abbey Movie," 15 Sep. 2019 How did Emmy Rossum's departure compare to some of the other actors who have left your other series? Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "John Wells on 'Shameless' Future, the "Strange" Enduring Appeal of 'ER' and the Writers-Agents Standoff," 7 Nov. 2019 But how does shopping in the summer compare to the other seasons of the year? Teen Vogue, "BRB, Stocking Up On Our Stila Makeup Must-Haves At Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale," 12 July 2019 Social media proliferates a compare-and-despair dilemma. Jon Patrick Hatcher, Good Housekeeping, "College Depression and Anxiety Are Serious — Here's How to Help Yourself or a Friend," 26 June 2019 And while Alabama has significant government contracts in at least 10 counties, none compare with north Alabama's Madison County. Paul Gattis |, al, "How Torch Technologies helps define Huntsville as a federal city," 6 Aug. 2019 This could be framed as a tale of two videos by the Aussie band, one bad beyond redemption, one amazing beyond compare. Mike Oliver |, al, "Hi I’m Louie. Are you Lewy? A proposal for a Disney duck," 7 Sep. 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

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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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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