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 What followed was a twenty-five-minute performance of defensiveness, denial, and bizarre false equivalence. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Bill de Blasio Faces the Fury of New Yorkers, on and off “The Brian Lehrer Show”," 6 June 2020 Eligible businesses are able to receive up to two months of rent, or rental equivalence costs, with a $5,000 limit. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shorewood's new emergency program will allow for businesses to receive up to $5,000," 22 Apr. 2020 But, for them — actors, authors, dancers, musicians, playwrights — the stakes can be distilled to a bare equivalence: No work. oregonlive, "6 ways to help Oregon artists out of work because of the coronavirus," 25 Mar. 2020 But the equivalence framework comes with limits and possible headaches. Washington Post, "London’s Fight to Remain a Financial Hub After Brexit," 3 July 2019 There can, of course, be no moral equivalence between Stevens and a slavery apologist like Wigfall. Andrew Ferguson, The Atlantic, "Abraham Lincoln’s Radical Moderation," 12 Mar. 2020 Still, equivalence isn’t essential for the City’s survival. James Hertling, Bloomberg.com, "City of London’s Post-Brexit Outlook Dimmed by Barnier Clash," 12 Feb. 2020 The discovery of antigravity would thus force upon us a choice between Newton’s law of inertia and Einstein’s equivalence principle. Scientific American, "Antiparticles Would Deliver Mortal Blow to Einstein’s Principle," 8 Apr. 2020 In this new era, my prescription is less false equivalence, more high-impact language and more willingness to take a stand for democracy. Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, "We have entered the Trump Unbound era — and journalists need to step it up.," 23 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for equivalence

Time Traveler

The first known use of equivalence was circa 1541

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Statistics for equivalence

Last Updated

25 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Equivalence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivalence. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for equivalence


How to pronounce equivalence (audio)

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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