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)

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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 Both are internationalist in outlook, and see the world through a lens of climate justice as well as climate equilibrium. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "The Urgent Case for Shrinking the Economy," 28 Dec. 2020 Dallas has regained its equilibrium with three consecutive victories. David Moore, Dallas News, "The Cowboys have overcome a lot this season, but an improbable run may still be too little too late," 2 Jan. 2021 There is, however, one interest group that has both the clout and the incentive to liberate us from unsatisfying political equilibrium and create the political space for moderates of both parties to come together. Washington Post, "Five (somewhat) upbeat predictions for 2021," 31 Dec. 2020 Their teachers show up; maintain their essential equilibrium; and find ways, even on Zoom, to let pupils feel their dedication and support coming through the screen. James Carroll, The New Yorker, "What the Era of Trump and the Coronavirus May Teach America’s Children," 21 Dec. 2020 One of the options discussed at league headquarters is pushing the pause button on the season for a week or two to allow teams to catch their breath and regain their equilibrium. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Nightmare for Broncos as COVID-19 crisis wreaks havoc, and NFL could take bigger hits," 29 Nov. 2020 The economic equilibrium sustaining Mr. Hammel’s restaurant in Logan Square is already giving way. New York Times, "If Restaurants Go, What Happens to Cities?," 3 Nov. 2020 The equilibrium seems to be a continuous decline in Treasury yields — and an attendant decline in risk-off Treasury rallies. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Capital Note: Wall Street Wants a Blue Wave," 26 Oct. 2020 No matter how bleak the situation, these people cling to normalcy—and normalcy, as for any upper-middle-class American, entails consumption, comfort, and domestic equilibrium. Hillary Kelly, The New Yorker, "“Leave the World Behind,” a Novel About the Disaster That Won’t End," 5 Oct. 2020

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

16 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Equilibrium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equilibrium. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for equilibrium



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 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

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