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

Together, these three make up Einstein’s equivalence principle. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Einstein’s equivalence principle updated with a dash of quantum," 14 Aug. 2018 James Alex Fields Photo: Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail/Associated Press President Donald Trump was criticized in many quarters for initially suggesting an equivalence between the white supremacists and those marching against them. Sadie Gurman, WSJ, "Charlottesville Suspect Indicted on Federal Hate Crime Charges," 27 June 2018 Mass-energy equivalence means that the solar energy striking the earth each second equals only four pounds of mass. Lisa Einstein, Scientific American, "Unleashing the Energy Trapped within Undereducated Girls," 1 May 2018 Systems of mutual recognition or regulatory equivalence will not give service providers the same access to EU markets. The Economist, "Hard Brexit is unravelling," 28 June 2018 The two wouldn’t fall in a similar manner, leading to a violation of the strong equivalence principle and, with it, general relativity. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity," 6 May 2018 And that moral equivalence, between the people of our government and Putin’s thugs, had generated a lot of controversy. Time Staff, Time, "Read the Full Transcript From James Comey's ABC Interview," 17 Apr. 2018 At another extreme, the rear lens on an iPhone X is a 4-mm lens (in the Exif data for an iPhone photograph, it is still measured in its equivalence to 35-mm film, which ends up being close to a 28-mm lens). Allain Daigle, The Atlantic, "How the 50-mm Lens Became ‘Normal’," 13 May 2018 The depository distributed 70 million pounds of food in 2016 and distributes the equivalence of 160,000 meals per day through its 700 partner agencies and programs throughout Cook County. Shelbie Lynn Bostedt, RedEye Chicago, "Get moving for doughnuts at Stan's Donut Dash 5K," 9 Aug. 2017

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

13 Nov 2018

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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

: 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

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


by force of circumstances

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