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 As for the chicken itself, the breading also has a faint hint of heat, roughly equivalent to Wendy’s spicy fried chicken sandwich. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, "Portillo’s new spicy chicken sandwich is good, but the one at Chubby’s Char House is great," 15 Apr. 2021 According to a Trump aide who spoke with The New York Times, the PAC had $85 million in the bank earlier this month, roughly equivalent to the $84 million cash on hand that the Republican National Committee showed at that same time. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump is building a shadow Republican Party," 14 Apr. 2021 For perspective, that's six women experiencing these side effects in a population roughly equivalent to the state of Indiana. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "State switches Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Moderna at IMS clinic after rare side effects," 13 Apr. 2021 The human brain has about 100 trillion synapses, roughly equivalent to the deep neural network parameters. Karl Freund, Forbes, "NVIDIA Completely Re-Imagines The Data Center For AI," 12 Apr. 2021 The Air Force intends to procure up to 144 F-15EXs from Boeing to replace its aging F-15C/D models at a cost of $87 million a copy, roughly equivalent to the sticker price of the stealthy F-35 but with much lower maintenance and operational costs. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "US and Iraq plan for inevitable withdrawal of remaining American combat forces," 8 Apr. 2021 For reference, Schmidt says the excess .5 W/m2 added to the Earth system from 2003-2018 is roughly equivalent to one Christmas tree lightbulb for every 5-foot-square area on Earth. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "NASA measures direct evidence humans are causing climate change," 2 Apr. 2021 As our Sacramento bureau chief John Myers reported, Newsom’s staff said the ballpark’s capacity is roughly equivalent to the number of COVID-19 deaths in California. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: The state of a state in flux," 9 Mar. 2021 That’s roughly equivalent to burning 16 gallons of gasoline. Hailey Summers, The Conversation, "Growing cannabis indoors produces a lot of greenhouse gases – just how much depends on where it’s grown," 8 Mar. 2021

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

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Equivalent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivalent. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for equivalent



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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Comments on equivalent

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