equilibrium

noun
equi·​lib·​ri·​um | \ ˌē-kwə-ˈli-brē-əm , ˌe-\
plural equilibriums or equilibria\ ˌē-​kwə-​ˈli-​brē-​ə , 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

The painting’s sublime feeling of complete equilibrium derives from the precision with which Leonardo arranges the elements within the diagonal quadrants. Tom L. Freudenheim, WSJ, "A Portrait Both Sensible and Sensual," 11 Jan. 2019 Eventually the two sides settled into the current equilibrium where, in most new cars, the carmakers’ operating systems simply live side-by-side with CarPlay and Android Auto. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Amazon’s Echo Auto is another quick fix for the broken state of in-car infotainment," 21 Sep. 2018 Trump could disrupt this equilibrium at any moment — by firing Sessions or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who actually oversees the probe), or by trying to fire Mueller. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Trump sends agitated tweet calling for Jeff Sessions to end Mueller investigation," 1 Aug. 2018 Asset prices could then have found a more durable equilibrium and laid a stronger foundation for future growth. Kevin Warsh, WSJ, "Fed Tightening? Not Now," 16 Dec. 2018 Over the longer term, financial, product and labor markets find their own equilibriums. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Why Central Bankers Missed the Crisis," 16 Nov. 2018 So the researchers calculated the solubility of molecular oxygen in brines close to the Martian surface (since the oxygen is in equilibrium with the atmosphere) with varying levels of different salts at temperatures ranging from 140 to 300 Kelvin. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Supercool brines on Mars may contain enough oxygen to support aerobic life," 25 Oct. 2018 Every campaign season features battles that test partisan loyalties, but for sheer equilibrium-busting, the race for Pierce County prosecutor is hard to match. Sean Robinson, The Seattle Times, "Superheated race for Pierce County prosecutor, pitting boss against former chief deputy, is most expensive county-level contest in state," 5 Aug. 2018 Finally, and most disturbing to the careful equilibrium the women have constructed on their own, is Hortense's next son Georges (Cyril Descours), young and handsome and with some of the entitlement that goes with being a mother's favorite. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "Intimate epic 'The Guardians' distills how war changes everything for a French family," 10 May 2018

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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Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for equilibrium

The first known use of equilibrium was in 1608

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More Definitions for equilibrium

equilibrium

noun

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 , 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 , ˌek-wə- \
plural equilibriums or equilibria\ -​rē-​ə \

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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