equiv·​a·​lence | \ i-ˈkwiv-lən(t)s How to pronounce equivalence (audio) , -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

With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. NBC News, "Biden's mastery of backlash politics takes center stage," 6 July 2019 This literal commercialization of love pushes some couples (including my fellow and me) in the other direction, to reject the false equivalence by spending very little money on the ring. Jennifer Bernstein, Vox, "Even as I question the institution of marriage and all its traditions, I find myself still wanting a ring.," 3 July 2019 Those types of credit equivalences are typical for students who come from the military and have their past training recognized toward degree programs. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "When Argosy U closed, students felt they lost everything. How other schools rushed to help them pick up the pieces.," 23 June 2019 Photo: Thierry Roge/Zuma Press For cross-border commercial banking—lending and deposit taking—no equivalence is possible. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Why Global Finance Stopped Shouting About Brexit," 26 Nov. 2018 This includes ruling out access to the EU’s single market for financial institutions any better than equivalence and insisting that the U.K. can obtain only an agreement similar to the EU’s free trade deal with Canada. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Talks Sidestep Thorny Issues as Work Starts on Future," 4 May 2018 Among Einstein's most famous discoveries from that year, known as his Annus Mirabilis, was his equation E = mc2, which explains this equivalence. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Why the World's Measuring Systems Just Changed—and What It Means," 20 May 2019 This false equivalence between Nazis and Israel is a trope on the left, where anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism elide. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Education and Anti-Semitism," 28 Nov. 2018 Running parallel to Brexit negotiations, the EU is revising its rules on equivalence. Birgit Jennen, Bloomberg.com, "Germany Wants to Help U.K. Banks But Needs Concessions," 23 Apr. 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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Statistics for equivalence

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce equivalence (audio) \

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).


to complain fretfully

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