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 equilibria (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)

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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 With producers rushing to adapt his work for film and television at a higher clip than ever, their ability to find this equilibrium often marks the difference between failure and success. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Supernatural Gets Serious in The Outsider," 12 Jan. 2020 This is the fifth installment in KHN’s year-long series, No Mercy, which follows how the closure of one beloved rural hospital disrupts a community’s health care, economy and equilibrium. NBC News, "Coping with loss of hospital, rural town realizes: We don't need one," 27 Dec. 2019 This new equilibrium may be more significant than just signaling a swing in fashion’s pendulum. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "The battle between minimalist and maximalist fashion has reached a new equilibrium," 7 Dec. 2019 To upset the equilibrium, the Democrats would have to devise a strategy that would penetrate the Republicans’ reality bubble. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Two Irreconcilable Realities of the Impeachment Hearings," 14 Nov. 2019 The vision was that the team would be in equilibrium. Alexandra Ossola, Quartz, "The web is a disaster—but the person who created it still has hope," 15 Oct. 2019 The offense is still attempting to find that run-pass equilibrium. Justice Delos Santos, The Mercury News, "Football: McClymonds rallies in fourth quarter to stun Campolindo," 14 Sep. 2019 The combination of competition and predation then lets several populations of rival species coexist in equilibrium. Quanta Magazine, "Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters," 12 Feb. 2018 Each song could represent a room in this haunted house, a depiction of African-American life on the margins of financial solvency and psychic equilibrium. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "10 best albums of 2019 in rock-pop-rap," 2 Dec. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for equilibrium

Time Traveler

The first known use of equilibrium was in 1608

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Statistics for equilibrium

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Equilibrium.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equilibria. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for equilibrium


How to pronounce equilibrium (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of equilibrium

: a state in which opposing forces or actions are balanced so that one is not stronger or greater than the other
: a state of emotional balance or calmness


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


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 equilibria (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

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Comments on equilibrium

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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