1. a person or thing that equalizes.
  2. any of various devices or appliances for equalizing strains, pressures, etc.
  3. Electricity. an electric network of inductance, capacitance, or resistance established between two points in a given network to secure some constant relation, as even attenuation, between the two points.
  4. Slang. a weapon, as a pistol, blackjack, or switchblade knife.


  1. a person or thing that equalizes, esp a device to counterbalance opposing forces
  2. an electronic network introduced into a transmission circuit to alter its response, esp to reduce distortion by equalizing its response over a specified frequency range
  3. sport a goal, point, etc, that levels the score
  4. US slang a weapon, esp a gun

1792, agent noun from equalize. Sports sense attested by 1930; in the U.S. underworld slang sense of “pistol,” it is from c.1900.

  1. An electronic device made of filters and amplifiers, used to alter the relative strengths of different frequencies in an electronic signal. Equalizers are used primarily in audio equipment, allowing fine-tuning of the signal to compensate for distortions such as weak response or oversensitivity at various frequencies.♦ A graphic equalizer uses a set of controls that determine the level of boost or suppression of individual frequencies. The controls are usually sliding faders, set up in a row from lowest frequency to highest frequency, so that the final settings resemble a graph of the frequency response of the equalizer.♦ A parametric equalizer consists of one or more filters whose characteristics can be controlled, such as the frequency to be manipulated, whether to boost or suppress the frequency, the amount of boost or suppression, and how much nearby frequencies are also affected.

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