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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for compare

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Florida has a lot going for it compared to Connecticut: Lower taxes, better governance, superior infrastructure (one of Rick Scott’s unheralded accomplishments), quite a bit less in the way of snow-shoveling, etc. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in Greenwich, Conn.?," 10 Nov. 2019 Putin came away with $3 billion in deals—a modest sum compared to the $300 billion Trump secured during his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017. Madeline Roache, Time, "30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia Is Only Pretending to Be a Major Power," 9 Nov. 2019 The org collected approximately €230 million euro ($261 million) for members in 2018, a 25.9 percent decline of income compared to the previous year's high of €310 million euro ($352 million). Wolfgang Spahr, Billboard, "German Neighbouring Rights Org GVL Turns 60," 7 Nov. 2019 The location also featured a quick service counter, compared to the Scottsdale location's full service operations. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Just months after opening, 2 new uptown Phoenix restaurants are closed. Here's why," 7 Nov. 2019 This implies that for each rupee allocated to an average or below-average performer, Rs2.16 goes to a top performer, compared to about Rs1.3 last year. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Even with a mere 10% salary hike, Indians will top Asia Pacific in 2020," 6 Nov. 2019 LGBTQ Democrats had a success of 40 percent, compared to 33 percent for their GOP counterparts. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "Rainbow Wave 2.0: Nearly 100 LGBTQ candidates claim victory in Tuesday's elections," 6 Nov. 2019 To put a number on it, when a human was giving the robot tough love, the machine had a 52 percent success rate at grasping, compared to 26.5 percent without the tough love. Wired, "If You Want a Robot to Learn Better, Be a Jerk to It," 6 Nov. 2019 The price for every-other-week collection of the smallest cart size doesn’t offer much savings compared to weekly collection of the smallest cart size; the biggest savings per volume, in fact, come with the largest cart size available. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "For St. Paul, 10 reasons to vote Yes — and 10 to vote No on trash," 5 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 How does season 2 compare to season 1 in that regard? Chancellor Agard,, "Titans boss previews Superboy's 'fraught' dynamic with the team in season 2," 4 Sep. 2019 But how does this compare to the rotation rate of the robot arm? Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Awesome Bowling Robot Is Surely Fake. Here's How to Tell," 10 July 2019 On top of that, its stock remains expensive: An enterprise value of 8.6 times operating earnings compares with an industry average of 3.3. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "A New Chapter for Norwegian Air?," 11 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compare

Time Traveler for compare

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for compare

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!