1. as great as; the same as (often followed by to or with): The velocity of sound is not equal to that of light.
  2. like or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc.; of the same rank, ability, merit, etc.: two students of equal brilliance.
  3. evenly proportioned or balanced: an equal contest.
  4. uniform in operation or effect: equal laws.
  5. adequate or sufficient in quantity or degree: The supply is equal to the demand.
  6. having adequate powers, ability, or means: He was equal to the task.
  7. level, as a plain.
  8. tranquil or undisturbed: to confront death with an equal mind.
  9. impartial or equitable.


  1. a person or thing that is equal.

verb (used with object), e·qualed, e·qual·ing or (especially British) e·qualled, e·qual·ling.

  1. to be or become equal to; meet or match: So far the rate of production doesn’t equal the demand. If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C.
  2. to make or do something equal to: No matter how he tries, he can’t equal his brother’s achievements.
  3. Archaic. to make equal; equalize.
  4. Obsolete. to recompense fully.


  1. (often foll by to or with) identical in size, quantity, degree, intensity, etc; the same (as)
  2. having identical privileges, rights, status, etcall men are equal before the law
  3. having uniform effect or applicationequal opportunities
  4. evenly balanced or proportionedthe game was equal between the teams
  5. (usually foll by to) having the necessary or adequate strength, ability, means, etc (for)to be equal to one’s work
  6. another word for equivalent (def. 3a)


  1. a person or thing equal to another, esp in merit, ability, etche has no equal when it comes to boxing

verb equals, equalling or equalled or US equals, equaling or equaled

  1. (tr) to be equal to; correspond to; matchmy offer equals his
  2. (intr usually foll by out) to become equal or level
  3. (tr) to make, perform, or do something equal toto equal the world record
  4. (tr) archaic to make equal

late 14c., from Latin aequalis “uniform, identical, equal,” from aequus “level, even, just,” of unknown origin. Parallel formation egal (from Old French egal) was in use late 14c.-17c. The noun is recorded from 1570s.


1580s, “compare, liken,” also “match, rival,” from equal (adj.). Related: Equaled; equaling.

In addition to the idioms beginning with equal

  • equal to

also see:

  • other things being equal
  • separate but equal

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