equivalent

adjective

equiv·​a·​lent i-ˈkwiv-lənt How to pronounce equivalent (audio)
-ˈkwi-və-
1
: equal in force, amount, or value
also : equal in area or volume but not superposable
a square equivalent to a triangle
2
a
: 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
6
a
: 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
equivalent noun
equivalently adverb

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.

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

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web The idea that that is equivalent, people are waking up to that being a little bit just bonkers. How To Save A Country, The New Republic, 1 Dec. 2022 That's equivalent to the annual emissions from 2,400 sport utility vehicles. CBS News, 29 Nov. 2022 That's equivalent to the annual emissions from 2,400 sport utility vehicles. Audrey Mcavoy, ajc, 29 Nov. 2022 Ignore the deceptive voices who try to argue that Trump’s grievances are equivalent to his supporters' interests. Jake Kroesen, National Review, 27 Nov. 2022 At their two-day council, the ESA also announced its 22-members had committed to increasing the agency’s budget by 17 percent, which its director general tweeted was equivalent to 16.9 billion euros ($17.6 billion) over the next three years. Leo Sands, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2022 Even today mathematicians still use dissection and rearrangement to fully understand when certain shapes are equivalent, leading to some surprising recent results. Patrick Honner, Quanta Magazine, 21 Nov. 2022 If those pledges are met, the result would be equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from all of the world’s cars, trucks, buses and all two- and three-wheeled vehicles, according to the International Energy Agency. Jim Krane, Chron, 20 Nov. 2022 While all of these movies fall into the comedy genre, more than a few are equivalent to a Lifetime Christmas movie — but then again, what is a Christmas comedy without a little romance, too? Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 17 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near equivalent

Cite this Entry

“Equivalent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivalent. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

equivalent

1 of 2 adjective
equiv·​a·​lent
i-ˈkwiv(-ə)-lənt
1
a
: alike or equal in number, value, or meaning
equivalent statements
b
: having the same numerical value
equivalent fractions
equivalent numerals
c
: having the same solution set
y = 2 and 2y = 4 are equivalent equations
2
: having the same effect or function
equivalent methods
3
: capable of being placed in a one-to-one correspondence
equivalent sets
equivalently adverb

equivalent

2 of 2 noun
: one that is equivalent
especially : a number (as a decimal) that is equivalent to another (as a fraction)

Medical Definition

equivalent

1 of 2 adjective
equiv·​a·​lent -lənt How to pronounce equivalent (audio)
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

equivalent

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: 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

Legal Definition

equivalent

noun
eq·​uiv·​a·​lent
: 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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