Meaning of equal in English:


Pronunciation /ˈiːkw(ə)l/

See synonyms for equal

Translate equal into Spanish


  • 1Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.

    ‘add equal amounts of water and flour’
    • ‘1 litre is roughly equal to 1 quart’
    • ‘In estimating, it can be assumed that the yield of the concrete will be approximately equal to the quantity of gravel used.’
    • ‘The amount of the deduction is equal to the value of the stock contributed.’
    • ‘The sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles.’
    • ‘Milk should be frozen in portions approximately equal to the amount needed for one or two feedings.’
    • ‘For example, a student knows that 32 degrees Fahrenheit is freezing and is equal to 0 degrees Celsius.’
    • ‘But it is still not clear how to find an efficient allocation in which the value of consumption is equal to income for all consumers.’
    • ‘The amount of money taken in was roughly equal to the amount of money paid out.’
    • ‘Nearly equal amounts of the hormone are derived from the adrenal glands and the ovaries.’
    • ‘Night and day are in perfect balance, only twice a year do day and night become equal in length.’
    • ‘We begin with a law of international relations: no action involving two countries has equal effects on each.’
    • ‘York-based Northern Spirit are recruiting 50 new drivers and say they want an equal number of applications from both sexes.’
    • ‘Several forms of verbal therapy have roughly equal effects, he noted.’
    • ‘This team observed that fatty meals produce as much reflux over six hours as a balanced meal with an equal number of calories.’
    • ‘He also knows the critical letters will be balanced by an equal number of friendly letters.’
    • ‘Overall, the acts and scenes comprising the narrative of folktales of this type are roughly equal in length.’
    • ‘The film has its fascinating and tedious elements, in nearly equal measure.’
    • ‘Everywhere you look, this concept inspires admiration and trepidation in almost equal measure.’
    • ‘Few of the items produced within the country are considered equal in quality to foreign products.’
    • ‘In very rare cases, the right and left groove appear equal in size.’
    • ‘Trim off the ends of each package and slice each into five equal portions.’
    identical, uniform, alike, like, the same, one and the same, equivalent, indistinguishable
    equivalent, identical, amounting
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    1. 1.1(of people) having the same status, rights, or opportunities.
      ‘people are born free and equal’
      • ‘a society where women and men are equal partners’
      • ‘Legislation giving women status as equal partners in marriage was passed in 1993.’
      • ‘He is not equal in status to the other citizens.’
      • ‘This experience reinforced American egalitarianism, the belief that everyone is equal in status.’
      • ‘We are taught that all men are created equal in the eyes of God and there is only one God.’
      • ‘No one is above the law and everyone is equal before the law.’
      • ‘Under a human-rights focused democracy, all people are equal before the law.’
      • ‘In respect to civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.’
      • ‘The thesis is that in traditional Aboriginal societies, women were equal to men and treated with respect.’
      • ‘French authorities contend the principle of secularism is meant to make everybody equal.’
      • ‘"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, " it declared.’
      • ‘Women are finally becoming equal with men and not before time.’
      • ‘Weren't women already equal in the eyes of the law?’
      • ‘All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’
      • ‘Can citizens be considered equal if they possess very different degrees of economic power?’
      • ‘We're all more or less equal: let the calculators do the dividing.’
      • ‘Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’
      • ‘Until gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people are fully equal under law, we are second-class citizens.’
    2. 1.2Uniform in application or effect; without discrimination on any grounds.
      ‘a dedicated campaigner for equal rights’
      • ‘I will do everything in my power to fight for fair and equal treatment.’
      • ‘The report found pregnancy discrimination, equal pay, harassment, access to employment and promotion, and dismissal as causes of complaint.’
      • ‘They also indicated in large numbers that they hoped to end segregation and discrimination and receive equal, just, and fair treatment.’
      • ‘Article 26 provides that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.’
      • ‘The primary goal of school reform must be to provide more equal education opportunities.’
      • ‘Equal pay is also historically significant in the context of age and race.’
      • ‘Until the achievement of equal pay in 1974, men fared better than women.’
      • ‘Student Services created Services for Students with Disabilities to provide equal access and opportunities to students with disabilities.’
      • ‘You must have been playing this ‘ignorance is bliss’ game for a while now if you believe that we all have equal rights and opportunities here.’
      • ‘As adults we all have equal status - not economically, not in terms of our beauty, our background or how nice our parents are, but in terms of our rights.’
      • ‘These valuable resources will be managed through a local community structure working on the ethos of equal access to opportunities for all.’
      • ‘I asked for equal rights and opportunities and I tried my hardest to achieve it.’
      • ‘A professional equal opportunities approach must underpin appointments, otherwise the same old faces will reappear.’
      • ‘In the 1960s she worked to improve women's access to education and training and to promote equal pay and opportunity.’
      • ‘Instead, all property should be owned collectively, and all people should have equal social and economic status.’
      • ‘Labour health spokesperson Liz McManus said the party was committed to providing equal access to a high-quality health service.’
      • ‘No one is safe unless and until we all share equal protection under the same laws.’
      • ‘What we advocate is not that everyone is the same, but rather, all should have equal access to opportunity.’
      • ‘Although people claim there is an even playing field now and all access to opportunities is equal, it's not yet true.’
      • ‘I admit that I prefer working with men and I am in favour of equal employment opportunities.’
      • ‘The primary goal of school reform must be to provide more equal education opportunities.’
      • ‘After all, these were just two small units in a vast country where every Soviet citizen enjoyed equal rights and opportunities.’
      unbiased, impartial, non-partisan, fair, fair-minded, just, even-handed, equitable
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    3. 1.3Evenly or fairly balanced.
      ‘it was hardly an equal contest’
      • ‘The duel - more equal and balanced in the play than in the film, where the camera unfairly favours Nicholson - is a showdown between two opposed acting styles.’
      • ‘At first, it seemed reasonable; everyone had fairly equal responsibilities, which I noted she never bothered with herself.’
      • ‘It is difficult to foster and feed the kind of balanced, equal relationship that can sustain us into the future.’
      • ‘You cannot sort of just parachute in without opportunity for open and equal competition as part of the process.’
      • ‘Will ‘close’ allies be persuaded to buy the US technologies as the price of a more equal relationship on the ground?’
      • ‘The scrum is supposed to be an equal contest and you would expect a pack of 900 kg to dominate a pack of 800 kg.’
      • ‘I'm no great fan of his but I do like to see an equal contest and I don't think that's what we're getting in this campaign.’
      • ‘War serves a good purpose when it is an equal fight.’
      evenly matched, evenly balanced, even, balanced, evenly proportioned, well matched, on a par, on an equal footing
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  • 2equal toHaving the ability or resources to meet (a challenge)

    ‘the players proved equal to the task’
    • ‘Against the wind in the second half, Confey now had to face a far tougher challenge but they were equal to the task.’
    • ‘The people of York have proved themselves equal to the task.’
    • ‘With her comprehensive research, sound analysis, and engaging style, Williams proves herself equal to the task.’
    • ‘He soon proved himself more than equal to the demands of combat soldiering.’
    • ‘I just don't feel equal to the challenge that I'm facing now.’
    • ‘After reading the screenplay Stalin noted, " comrade Eisenstein proved himself equal to the task".’
    capable of, fit for, up to, good enough for, strong enough for, adequate for, sufficient for, ready for
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  • A person or thing that is the same as another in status or quality.

    ‘we all treat each other as equals’
    • ‘entertainment facilities without equal in the British Isles’
    • ‘Bergerac has an under-appreciated white wine, Monbazillac, that is almost the equal of many Sauternes and much less expensive.’
    • ‘He was now a land owner - the equal of his former employers.’
    • ‘The stairways and the timbers used have had few equals in the present day.’
    • ‘Consider the statement: Women are, and should be treated as, the equals of men.’
    • ‘At last, an intelligent email from an intellectual equal.’
    • ‘In the pantheon of funnymen, Rodney was, and still is, without equal.’
    • ‘I've eaten at a lot of Chinese restaurants on three different continents, and this was easily the equal of the best of them.’
    • ‘Marina, on the other hand, is pretty, uninhibited, and not Holly's intellectual equal.’
    • ‘In any event, the dishes were the equal of anything I've ever tasted anywhere in the world.’
    • ‘Indeed, one of the fundamental demands of striking workers in the preceding years was to be treated as the equal of their masters.’
    • ‘I think that winning the Champions League would allow us to step up to another level and to become the equal of the great European clubs.’
    • ‘A dozen short stories precede the novella, a reminder that while Updike may not be the equal of, say, Carver, in that genre he has few equals among his contemporaries.’
    • ‘Vegetarians' concern for animals and their refusal to treat animals cruelly does not mean that they regard animals as equals.’
    • ‘But generally, the standard is high - these funny and charming wannabes are the equal of many stand-ups I've seen on the circuit.’
    • ‘The SAS is Great Britain's most elite force, the equal of any special forces group in the world.’
    • ‘For Juliet the relief must come from realising she has produced an album the equal of, if not better than, ‘Burn The Black Suit’.’
    • ‘She had never done so before, but she doubted that she was meant to be his intellectual equal anymore.’
    • ‘In the United States, most things are done by the private sector, and most things here are at least the equal of their counterparts everywhere in the world.’
    • ‘Now we can negotiate as equals with the administration.’
    • ‘I consider myself one of the best producers in New York, and she's easily my equal, if not my superior.’
    equivalent, peer, fellow, coequal, like
    View synonyms

verbverb equals, verb equalling, verb equalled; US verb equaling, US verb equaled

[with object]
  • 1Be the same as in number or amount.

    ‘four plus six divided by two equals five’
    • ‘the total debits should equal the total credits’
    • ‘The first thing to note about the 8% figure quoted by the prime minister is that it does not equal the amount of total EU income spent on health care.’
    • ‘Table VII shows that the number of paper-cutting opportunities nearly equaled the total number of paper-folding opportunities in the ten textbooks.’
    • ‘Euler asserts that the sum of the harmonic series equals the natural logarithm of infinity plus a quantity that is nearly a constant.’
    • ‘For example, total charges must equal total credits.’
    • ‘The total amount of the invoice equalled the amount of finance available, namely £14.5 millions.’
    • ‘A circle and square have an equal area only if the ratio between a side of the square and a radius of the circle equals the square root of pi.’
    • ‘To emphasize the nature of rent as a surplus, George notes that wages plus returns to capital goods equal the total produce minus rent.’
    • ‘But since equity equals assets minus total debt, a company decreases its equity by increasing debt.’
    • ‘Net consumption divided by total capital invested equals a rate of profit of 11.11%.’
    • ‘The amount equals the compensation the European Union is seeking for the impact of the tax breaks on businesses in the union.’
    • ‘Under our assumptions, $.50 divided by 1.5 equals $.33.’
    • ‘The formula that represents power density is watts times time, divided by spot size, equals power density.’
    • ‘The cost would roughly equal the amount currently spent by oil companies on petroleum exploration and production.’
    • ‘Regional totals of disease incidence or patients receiving treatment often do not equal the sum of published country specific figures.’
    • ‘The net worth of the 30 richest Americans equals approximately $500 billion.’
    • ‘Yet 371 people were arrested, equaling approximately 40 people per incident.’
    • ‘Daily calcium intake should equal approximately 1500 mg of elemental calcium.’
    • ‘Total seed number per plant equals the sum of seeds over all mature fruits.’
    • ‘Exports of such services equalled 0.6 percent of all exports of goods and services in 2000.’
    • ‘Your daily calorie intake should equal approximately 13 times your body weight if you're active.’
    be equal to, be equivalent to, be the same as, correspond to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Match or rival in performance or extent.
      ‘he equalled the world record of 9.93 seconds’
      • ‘This time the Trophy Match equalled the flawless performance of the other two.’
      • ‘Publicly, she may well claim she aims to smash her final imprint into the record book, equalling the record of 20 Wimbledon titles garnered by Billie Jean King.’
      • ‘Browne's time in the 60m sprint equalled his best performance this year, which has him ranked in the top 10 nationally.’
      • ‘With the big serves in today's tennis, I'm not sure this match will ever be equalled.’
      • ‘The women's fourth-place finish equaled their best ever performance set at last year's conference meet while the men's fifth-place finish was one better than last year.’
      • ‘One of the main differences between the sides was that the losers could not equal the performances of a number of players in key positions.’
      • ‘Graeme Smith's South Africa needed a win to equal Australia's world record of 21 unbeaten matches set in 2003.’
      • ‘The record was not equalled until August this year by Arsene Wenger's awesome Arsenal side.’
      • ‘Airports consume land, energy and dumping capacity at rates rarely equalled anywhere else.’
      • ‘McEvoy equalled the course record and snatched the halfway lead, before tailing off.’
      • ‘The time of 2: 15.10 on a firm course equals the course record.’
      • ‘How could he have done something to equal what I had done?’
      • ‘His fury at his compatriots is only equalled by his contempt for the Americans.’
      • ‘You were a true professional, whose paranoia equalled only my own.’
      • ‘His love of sport was only equalled by his developed love of history.’
      • ‘Unfortunately for Mackie, the men managed to equal that feat within the next two hours.’
      • ‘At Goodwood today, it is odds-on that a horse will equal a feat not seen in 30 years.’
      • ‘Five centuries - equalling the best ever total in a best-of - 25-frames match - were the highlights.’
      • ‘He already has equaled his stolen base total from 1999.’
      • ‘He has now scored five tries in just three appearances this season, equalling his total for the entire 1998 season and out-stripping the two he managed last term.’
      match, reach, parallel, come up to, measure up to, achieve
      be as good as, be equal with, be even with, be a match for, match, measure up to, come up to, equate with, be in the same league as, be in the same category as, be tantamount to
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Be equivalent to.
      ‘his work is concerned with why private property equals exploitation’
      • ‘Both universities have started educational campaigns to teach students that downloading copyrighted songs equals intellectual property theft.’
      • ‘What these works reveal most vividly is that suburban history is, more than anything else, a story in which property equals power.’
      • ‘A danger to his property equaled a direct danger to him.’
      • ‘Or as is said in economics, private benefit equals social benefit.’
      • ‘The relationship between culture and society is not, as Okri appears to suggest, one of strict equivalence, as in great society equals great culture.’
      • ‘Personal trainer Paul Leong agrees that fitness without proper nutrition equals poor results in overall health and weight loss.’
      • ‘The formula would be privatization plus deregulation equals efficiency.’
      • ‘Lost quality equals lost income, while the farmgate price for cereals continues to be depressed.’
      • ‘The kind of space that I want to create is one where men do not think that a short skirt equals consent.’
      • ‘In this case, as in English common law, silence equals consent.’
      • ‘But I still don't understand why tragedy plus time equals profit.’
      • ‘But in this industry, status does not necessarily equal dollars or employment.’
      • ‘Let's talk about this: no breathing equals no oxygen equals total exhaustion.’
      • ‘What you mean cannot equal what you say, because words and meaning are not identical.’
      • ‘But to the extent that virility equals violence it is not a vital force but only a cover for the real frigidity.’
      be equal to, be equivalent to, be the same as, correspond to
      View synonyms


It is widely held that adjectives such as equal and unique should not be modified and that it is incorrect to say more equal or very unique, on the grounds that these are adjectives which refer to a logical or mathematical absolute. For more discussion of this question, see unique


    first among equals
    • The person or thing having the highest status in a group.

      ‘the clerk was regarded as first among equals by the other chief officers’
      • ‘He will be the first among equals, but they will all have to prove themselves.’
      • ‘Sorry Campbell, you may be the first among equals, but you ain't the boss.’
      • ‘As the first among equals, the Prime Minister will symbolically have his finger on the nuclear button.’
      • ‘They also recognize the Pope as the principal hierarch, the first among equals.’
      • ‘At their best, they are the best, first among equals.’
      • ‘This should be troubling, this complete lack of clear ideas from the man who will be our first among equals.’
      • ‘The whole tenet on which Hauser bases his fascinating book is that the human species is, as it were, first among equals.’
      • ‘In the past, the Pope of Alexandria was merely the first among equals, and reform movements had foundered on the autonomy of Egypt's bishops.’
      • ‘The official doctrine is that the prime minister is simply the first among equals, and the rule of collective responsibility emphasizes the collegial character of the cabinet.’
      • ‘Although America might be first among equals, its conscious and unconscious existence is tightly coupled to experiences shared with its global neighbors.’
    on equal terms
    • With the same advantages and disadvantages.

      ‘all companies should be able to compete on equal terms’
      • ‘The competition takes place on a level playing field, where every country has a chance to participate on equal terms.’
      • ‘Companies are no longer allowed to exclude part-time workers - they must offer membership to everyone on equal terms.’
      • ‘For clubs playing in European competitions, a mid-season break would allow them to compete on equal terms.’
      • ‘We are seeing emerge a kaleidoscopic collection of niche high quality businesses which can compete on equal terms in the international market.’
      • ‘Private hospitals, whether for profit or not, would compete on equal terms.’
      • ‘Catholic bishops claimed to correspond with provincial governors on equal terms.’
      • ‘Philip gave her a curious look, standing to face her on equal terms.’
      • ‘Graduate students, junior faculty, senior distinguished professors all entered the lists on equal terms.’
      • ‘I truly love a woman who will take on a man in a fight on equal terms.’
      • ‘We do not succeed in meeting on equal terms those who lack the privilege of a history.’
    other things being equal
    • Provided that other factors or circumstances remain the same.

      ‘it follows that, other things being equal, the price level will rise’
      • ‘Once this finds an outlet through trade and specialisation, all things being equal, material progress follows.’
      • ‘It does not always provide for perfect justice or perfect security but, all things being equal, it is an improvement over the endless territorial and tribal wars that came before.’
      • ‘So, all other things being equal, the left-handed trait, which is largely genetic, should have died out long ago in prehistory.’
      • ‘But all other things being equal, the view is that we feel that congestion charges are the most realistic way ahead.’
      • ‘Because in economics, as you and I both know, if there's demand, prices are going to rise, all other things being equal.’
      • ‘Time after time the courts have said that, all other things being equal, if the child has a good parent, that child should be with the parent.’
      • ‘As for me, all other things being equal, I'd rather live longer and would not begrudge further longevity to others.’
      • ‘One view is that if the planning system were abolished tomorrow, the general level of house prices, all other things being equal, would not change very much.’
      • ‘Other things being roughly equal, Supreme Court Justices of all political persuasions are best served by like-minded clerks.’
      • ‘I'm sure all things being equal, he'd rather be someplace else.’
    some — are more equal than others
    • Although members of a society or group appear to be equal, in reality some receive better treatment than others.

      ‘evidently, some communities are more equal than others’
      • ‘They are trying to get the state to stop claiming that some relationships are more equal than others.’
      • ‘The squabbles about the International Criminal Court indicate that some states are more equal than others.’
      • ‘Well, it turns out, some equal rights are more equal than others.’
      • ‘It means some patients are more equal than others.’
      • ‘Some vested interests are more equal than others.’
      • ‘All genres are equal, but in the eyes of Hollywood, some genres are more equal than others.’
      • ‘To paraphrase George Orwell from his book, Animal Farm: ' All fuels are equal but some are more equal than others '.’
      • ‘All genders are equal, you see, But on the far left some genders are more equal than others.’
      • ‘There may be the need for equality but to many unionists, some people are more equal than others.’
      • ‘It seems that some groups are more equal than others in the eyes of the government's equality envoy.’


Late Middle English from Latin aequalis, from aequus ‘even, level, equal’. The expression some — are more equal than othersdates from the late 19th century but was popularized by its use in George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945).