equiv·​a·​lence | \ i-ˈkwiv-lən(t)s , -ˈkwi-və-\

Definition of equivalence

1a : the state or property of being equivalent
b : the relation holding between two statements if they are either both true or both false so that to affirm one and to deny the other would result in a contradiction
2 : a presentation of terms as equivalent
3 : equality in metrical value of a regular foot and one in which there are substitutions

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Examples of equivalence in a Sentence

the equivalence of the two propositions moviegoers who mistakenly believe that there is an equivalence between the personality of an actor and that of his character

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite the best intentions of some Republican officials, the party of militant anticommunism has become the party of moral equivalence—an inevitable consequence of their acquiescence to Mr. Trump in 2016. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Trump’s Russia Remarks Were No Gaffe," 17 July 2018 Trump has reacted to other divisive events not by issuing statements of unity or moral clarity as other presidents might have done, but by finding equivalence or diverting attention. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s angry, not about Roseanne’s racist post, but about ABC’s treatment of him," 31 May 2018 His argument rests on multiple false equivalences between the right and left. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "On #MeToo and Democrats’ Moral Authority," 18 May 2018 So be careful about drawing an equivalence between Thursday's achievement and NASA's upcoming commercial crew flights. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Virgin Galactic just flew to 82.68 kilometers—is this space?," 13 Dec. 2018 These types of agreements, known as equivalence, are common among countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas to facilitate trading activity world-wide. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Amid Brexit Drama, EU Flexes Its Muscles With Swiss," 1 Dec. 2018 The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. James Rogers, Fox News, "Trump trolled with 'traitor' tweet by Dictionary.com after Putin summit," 16 July 2018 Existing equivalence arrangements don’t include core banking functions like deposit taking and wholesale banking. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "What the Draft Brexit Agreement Means for Finance," 22 Nov. 2018 This equivalence has been measured time and time again with no violation ever found. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Einstein’s equivalence principle updated with a dash of quantum," 14 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'equivalence.' 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 equivalence

circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for equivalence

The first known use of equivalence was circa 1541

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More Definitions for equivalence



English Language Learners Definition of equivalence

formal : the quality or state of being alike : the quality or state of having the same value, function, meaning, etc.


equiv·​a·​lence | \ i-ˈkwiv(-ə)-lən(t)s \

Medical Definition of equivalence

: the state or property of being equivalent

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Comments on equivalence

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excited commotion or publicity

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