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 Some critics compare him to Donald Trump in 2016, given his outsider status and lack of experience. Julian Zelizer, CNN, "What makes Andrew Yang appealing to New Yorkers?," 30 Apr. 2021 To meaningfully compare the results of which interventions work best at age 10 or 14 or 18 requires extensive longitudinal studies, which have not yet been done. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "Adolescent Brains Are Wired to Want Status and Respect: That’s an Opportunity for Teachers and Parents," 28 Apr. 2021 Now compare that Billionaire Boys Club to the more egalitarian Champions League, which is open to every club in Europe based on their finish in their respective league tables. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer newsletter: European Super League idea is gone, but not dead yet," 27 Apr. 2021 Then compare that to an NFT, or in this case, NBA Top Shot moment. Patrick Murray, Forbes, "Golden State Warriors Launch NFT Collection, Becoming First U.S. Sports Team To Release Own NFTs," 27 Apr. 2021 Act compare the restriction to other limitations placed on minors. Dan Avery, NBC News, "American Medical Association urges governors to veto transgender medical bans," 27 Apr. 2021 Census officials and outside experts will compare them to projections and other sources., "Your questions about the 2020 Census, answered," 26 Apr. 2021 Few, though, can compare to a bottle of Old Ingledew Whiskey scheduled to go up for grabs this summer. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "The World’s Oldest Bottle of Whiskey Is Heading to Auction," 26 Apr. 2021 But how does the current drought map compare to past years? Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, "These maps show why California is bracing for another extreme fire season," 22 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And how do the costs of renting vs. owning compare? Mike Gousha And John Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Growing 'land grab' by out-of-state investment landlords raises questions for Milwaukee homeowners and neighborhoods," 15 Apr. 2021 The Hepburn-Givenchy partnership across seven films was, like Audrey herself, beyond compare, carrying on through Love in the Afternoon, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, and How to Steal a Million. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Incomparable Audrey Hepburn," 26 Mar. 2021 How does Louisville's rate compare to other Kentucky cities? Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville’s auto insurance rates have fallen. Here’s what you need to know," 9 Mar. 2021 And again, a compare/contrast with Europe is telling. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "It’s Time to Embrace Ski Guiding," 26 Feb. 2021 How does the Newsom recall compare to Davis’ ouster? Los Angeles Times, "Q&A: What you need to know about the attempt to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom," 22 Feb. 2021 Use the online compare mode to find the right height and look. oregonlive, "Easily upgrade your home desk: Get organized, comfortable in 2021," 12 Jan. 2021 So with winter out of the way, how does 2020-21 compare? Kori Rumore,, "Winter is over — for meteorologists. We chart how this season stands up in terms of cold, rain and, yes, snow," 3 Mar. 2021 Use the online compare mode to find the right height and look. oregonlive, "Easily upgrade your home desk: Get organized, comfortable in 2021," 12 Jan. 2021

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Compare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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 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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