equa·​tion | \ i-ˈkwā-zhən also -shən How to pronounce equation (audio) \

Definition of equation

1a : the act or process of equating
b(1) : an element affecting a process : factor
(2) : a complex of variable factors
c : a state of being equated specifically : a state of close association or identification bring governmental enterprises and payment for them into immediate equation — R. G. Tugwell
2a : a usually formal statement of the equality or equivalence of mathematical or logical expressions
b : an expression representing a chemical reaction quantitatively by means of chemical symbols

Examples of equation in a Sentence

the equation of material wealth with happiness

Recent Examples on the Web

But at the same time, there’s another bit of the equation, which is the government takes money from the companies in the form of taxation, corporate taxes and payroll taxes. Eric Johnson, Recode, "We have to rewrite antitrust law to deal with tech monopolies, says ‘Positive Populism’ author Steve Hilton," 24 Oct. 2018 This week's compilation changes the access-half of the equation (and comes to tide fans over while waiting for the crowdfunded Shenmue III). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Shenmue I & II impressions: A gaming history lesson, but it feels like school," 20 Aug. 2018 The atoms in solids, such as silicon or diamond, are relatively stationary, but their crystalline order dramatically simplifies the equations necessary to understand their properties. James Kakalios, WSJ, "‘Liquid Rules’ Review: Going With the Flow," 7 Mar. 2019 That’s a penalty that is high not just for men as individuals, but for our society, because in the end, that equation that is so punishing to them comes out in high rates of suicide and violence against other people. Anna North, Vox, "Women made historic gains in 2018. But in so many ways, it was still the Year of the Man.," 27 Dec. 2018 The size and look of your pores depend on quite a few factors— things like genetics, skin type, exposure to sun, and age are all part of the equation. Teen Vogue, "How To Minimize Pores 12 Different Ways (That Actually Work)," 14 Mar. 2019 The analysis uses the Kaya identity, an equation that is used to calculate how much greenhouse gas emissions an economy will produce. David Roberts, Vox, "The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change," 29 Jan. 2019 Owning the rocker vibe is as easy as following this foolproof equation: grunge graphic tee + destroyed denim + faux leather + vintage-y sunnies. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Super-Hot Outfits Perfect for Your Next Concert," 28 Dec. 2018 Public space is factoring into the health equation, too. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How cities became more equitable in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'equation.' 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 equation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

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

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English Language Learners Definition of equation

mathematics : a statement that two expressions are equal (such as 8 + 3 = 11 or 2x - 3 = 7)
: a complicated situation or issue
: the act of regarding two things as the same : the act of equating things


equa·​tion | \ i-ˈkwā-zhən How to pronounce equation (audio) \

Kids Definition of equation

1 : a statement of the equality of two mathematical expressions
2 : an expression representing a chemical reaction by means of chemical symbols


equa·​tion | \ i-ˈkwā-zhən also -shən\

Medical Definition of equation

: an expression representing a chemical reaction quantitatively by means of chemical symbols

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More from Merriam-Webster on equation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with equation

Spanish Central: Translation of equation

Nglish: Translation of equation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of equation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about equation

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What made you want to look up equation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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