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 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 Still, water on the planet could be in equilibrium with water vapor in the atmosphere, allowing it to be detected. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "First water detected in the atmosphere of a habitable-zone planet," 12 Sep. 2019 One is that both seem to possess an equilibrium-like state. Wired, "Are We All Wrong About Black Holes?," 8 Sep. 2019 The economy requires sustained job gains of at least 100,000 a month for unemployment to remain in equilibrium. NBC News, "Trump's trade war could spark a recession, warns Goldman Sachs," 12 Aug. 2019 That society had been based on the assumption that a stable equilibrium between liberty and equality could and should be achieved through economic growth and an expanding welfare state administered at the national level. Mario Del Pero, Washington Post, "How the 1970s spawned democracy’s current crisis," 1 Aug. 2019 The phenomenon, known as niche partitioning, implied an equilibrium. Keith Ladzinski, National Geographic, "The ‘balance of nature’ is an enduring concept. But it’s wrong.," 26 July 2019 While Russia has been content to let the Israelis keep the Iranians in check through a campaign of airstrikes in Syria, its interest is in establishing a kind of equilibrium there — with itself at the center. Vance Serchuk, National Review, "Russia’s Middle East Power Play," 12 Sep. 2019 John Maynard Keynes detailed how capitalist economies, far from tending to equilibrium, are prone to extreme volatility due to cycles of over- and underinvestment. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "The Green New Deal: A Capitalist Plot (Part 2)," 15 Aug. 2019 Right now, the robotic tail can help in equilibrium maintenance, may prevent fall injuries, and could enhance the augmented reality experience of video games. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Just a Regular Old Robotic Tail Made for Humans, Nothing to See Here," 7 Aug. 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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Statistics for equilibrium

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for equilibrium

The first known use of equilibrium was in 1608

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More Definitions for equilibrium

equilibrium

noun
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

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 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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