equilibrium

noun
equi·​lib·​ri·​um | \ ˌē-kwə-ˈli-brē-əm How to pronounce equilibrium (audio) , ˌe- \
plural equilibriums or equilibria\ ˌē-​kwə-​ˈli-​brē-​ə How to pronounce equilibrium (audio) , ˌe-​ \

Definition of equilibrium

1a : a state of intellectual or emotional balance : poise trying to recover his equilibrium
b : a state of adjustment between opposing or divergent influences or elements
2 : a state of balance between opposing forces or actions that is either static (as in a body acted on by forces whose resultant is zero) or dynamic (as in a reversible chemical reaction when the rates of reaction in both directions are equal)

Did you know?

Equilibrium contains a root from the Latin libra, meaning "weight" or "balance". As a constellation, zodiac symbol, and astrological sign, Libra is usually pictured as a set of balance scales, often held by the blindfolded goddess of justice, which symbolizes fairness, equality, and justice. Equilibrium has special meanings in biology, chemistry, physics, and economics, but in all of them it refers to the balance of competing influences.

Examples of equilibrium in a Sentence

Supply and demand were in equilibrium. we must find an equilibrium between commercial development and conservation of our natural treasures
Recent Examples on the Web That sort of equilibrium will take work to achieve and to maintain, as antibody levels ebb over time and new variants crop up. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 4 May 2022 As the German series industry heats up, the market of stories and financiers, currently thrown out of equilibrium, looks to change dramatically before settling into a new balance. Marta Balaga, Variety, 23 Mar. 2022 On early Earth, the atmosphere maintained a different kind of equilibrium, with producers and consumers of oxygen in balance, but in a way that didn't leave much extra oxygen for the atmosphere. David Bressan, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Everything gets blanketed in vibrant tomato just before the charred bits burn, and, over several hours, the dish moves toward a kind of equilibrium, where the tomato’s sharp edges are rounded, and the meat buckles under its own weight. Danny Chau, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2022 This kind of equilibrium applies to our interactions with bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microbes. Eran Bendavid, WSJ, 1 Feb. 2022 Sharp seems to have recently reached a sort of equilibrium with about 60 COVID-19 hospital admissions per day and roughly the same number of COVID-19 discharges. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Jan. 2022 The system is always on the verge of veering dangerously out of equilibrium. Matt Reynolds, Wired, 4 Jan. 2022 Today, of course, there is no existing consensus as to what any such equilibrium might entail. Andrew J. Bacevich, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'equilibrium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of equilibrium

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for equilibrium

Latin aequilibrium, from aequilibris being in equilibrium, from aequi- + libra weight, balance

Learn More About equilibrium

Time Traveler for equilibrium

Time Traveler

The first known use of equilibrium was in 1608

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near equilibrium

equilibristat

equilibrium

equilibrium constant

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for equilibrium

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Equilibrium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equilibrium. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for equilibrium

equilibrium

noun
equi·​lib·​ri·​um | \ ˌē-kwə-ˈli-brē-əm How to pronounce equilibrium (audio) , ˌe-kwə- \

Kids Definition of equilibrium

1 : a state of balance between opposing forces or actions
2 : the normal balanced state of the body that is maintained by the inner ear and that keeps a person or animal from falling

equilibrium

noun
equi·​lib·​ri·​um | \ ˌē-kwə-ˈlib-rē-əm How to pronounce equilibrium (audio) , ˌek-wə- How to pronounce equilibrium (audio) \
plural equilibriums or equilibria\ -​rē-​ə How to pronounce equilibrium (audio) \

Medical Definition of equilibrium

1 : a state of balance between opposing forces or actions that is either static (as in a body acted on by forces whose resultant is zero) or dynamic (as in a reversible chemical reaction when the velocities in both directions are equal)
2 : a state of intellectual or emotional balance

More from Merriam-Webster on equilibrium

Nglish: Translation of equilibrium for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of equilibrium for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about equilibrium

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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