equiv·​a·​lent | \ i-ˈkwiv-lənt How to pronounce equivalent (audio) , -ˈkwi-və- \

Definition of equivalent

1 : equal in force, amount, or value also : equal in area or volume but not superposable a square equivalent to a triangle
2a : like in signification or import
b : having logical equivalence equivalent statements
3 : corresponding or virtually identical especially in effect or function
4 obsolete : equal in might or authority
5 : having the same chemical combining capacity equivalent quantities of two elements
6a : having the same solution set equivalent equations
b : capable of being placed in one-to-one correspondence equivalent sets
c : related by an equivalence relation

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Other Words from equivalent

equivalent noun
equivalently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for equivalent

same, selfsame, very, identical, equivalent, equal mean not different or not differing from one another. same may imply and selfsame always implies that the things under consideration are one thing and not two or more things. took the same route derived from the selfsame source very, like selfsame, may imply identity, or, like same may imply likeness in kind. the very point I was trying to make identical may imply selfsameness or suggest absolute agreement in all details. identical results equivalent implies amounting to the same thing in worth or significance. two houses equivalent in market value equal implies being identical in value, magnitude, or some specified quality. equal shares in the business

Did You Know?

Modern democracies have institutions and offices that are roughly equivalent to those found in others: the president of the United States has his British equivalent in the prime minister, for instance, and the U.S. Congress finds its equivalent in the British Parliament. The heavily armored knight on his great armored horse has been called the Middle Ages' equivalent of the army tank. In none of these examples are the two things identical to each other; they're simply very similar in their effect or purpose or nature, which is what equivalence usually implies.

Examples of equivalent in a Sentence

Those less-known companies manufacture equivalent products at cheaper prices. I haven't taken English 202, but I took an equivalent course at another university. an equivalent amount of money
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Recent Examples on the Web This is equivalent to the distance between Washington, DC, and Boston. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "World record longest lightning flash of 440 miles confirmed," 25 June 2020 Logging in the Canadian boreal forests region, which stretches from the Yukon to Newfoundland, emits 26 million metric tons every year, the report estimates, an amount which is equivalent to the emissions produced by 5.5 million passenger vehicles. Gerald Porter Jr. And Bloomberg, Fortune, "Working from home means softer toilet paper—and a significant toll on the environment," 25 June 2020 Clackamas County had only 29 full-time-equivalent workers, according to the state, far short of the 63 needed. oregonlive, "Oregon says it now has about 600 contact tracers. But will that be enough?," 24 June 2020 The report authors warned that global sport's carbon emissions are equivalent to that of a country the size of Angola by lower estimates, and Spain at upper estimates. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "The sporting opponent that could beat every single athlete," 20 June 2020 The amount of pills stockpiled by the state is equivalent to nearly two years-worth of prescriptions the state typically uses in its managed care programs, according to data provided by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Cincinnati.com, "Ohio bought millions of hydroxychloroquine to combat coronavirus. It’s now a banned treatment," 18 June 2020 The offer is equivalent to three to five fill-ups, depending on the battery pack of the Ford EV. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Ford’s Mustang Mach-E Electric Car Will Come with a Few Free Charges," 15 June 2020 Adjusted for inflation, that's equivalent to a fine of $1,572.97 in today's dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "An Arizona sheriff says he won't enforce county's mask mandate. Here's a look at how communities are handling enforcement," 27 Mar. 2020 When complete in 2023, the nine-building campus will consist of nearly 40 million square feet, equivalent to 24 Costco stores dropped on the edge of a small Oregon town with about 10,000 residents. oregonlive, "Facebook plans ninth data center in Prineville, says total spending there will top $2 billion," 11 June 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for equivalent

Middle English, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin aequivalent-, aequivalens, present participle of aequivalēre to have equal power, from Latin aequi- + valēre to be strong — more at wield

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Time Traveler for equivalent

Time Traveler

The first known use of equivalent was in the 15th century

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Statistics for equivalent

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Equivalent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivalent. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for equivalent


How to pronounce equivalent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of equivalent

: having the same value, use, meaning, etc.


equiv·​a·​lent | \ i-ˈkwi-və-lənt How to pronounce equivalent (audio) \

Kids Definition of equivalent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: alike or equal in number, value, or meaning



Kids Definition of equivalent (Entry 2 of 2)

: something like or equal to something else in number, value, or meaning “And I figure that dog is the equivalent of a person and a half.”— Judy Blume, Sheila the Great


equiv·​a·​lent | \ -lənt How to pronounce equivalent (audio) \

Medical Definition of equivalent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : corresponding or virtually identical especially in effect or function drugs that are therapeutically equivalent
2 : having the same chemical combining capacity equivalent quantities of two elements



Medical Definition of equivalent (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the relative weight of an element that has the same combining capacity as a given weight of another element : the atomic weight divided by the valence
b : the relative weight of a radical or compound that combines with a given weight of an element, radical, or compound especially : the weight of a compound that reacts with one equivalent of a given chemical element
2 : a psychopathological symptom replacing the usual one in a given disorder a twilight state may be an epileptic equivalent

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Legal Definition of equivalent

: something that performs substantially the same function as another thing in substantially the same way — compare aggregation, combination, invention

Note: Under patent law, a patentee may bring a claim for infringement against the inventor of an equivalent.

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