Meaning of EQUIVALENT in English


I. -nt adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin aequivalent-, aequivalens, present participle of aequivalēre to have equal power, be equivalent, from Latin aequi- equi- + valēre to be strong, be worth — more at wield

1. : equal in force or amount

the misery of such a position is equivalent to its happiness

a new TV film series that has the equivalent footage of 13 feature pictures

specifically of a quantity : equal in area or volume but not admitting of superposition

a square equivalent to a triangle


a. : like in signification or import

equivalent but differently worded statements of the two writers

: synonymous

substituted a term equivalent with it but more familiar

b. logic : having equivalence : implying each other


a. : equal in value : compensative , convertible

a person who consumes goods or accepts services without producing equivalent goods or performing equivalent services in return inflicts … injury — G.B.Shaw

a sum equivalent to $250 in our currency

a vitamin pill equivalent to four oranges

the decimal 0.75 is equivalent to the fraction 3/4

b. : corresponding or virtually identical especially in effect or function

a bureau of the French army equivalent to the intelligence division of the American general staff

: tantamount

where winning the primary is equivalent to election

c. : capable of being placed in one-to-one correspondence

equivalent mathematical sets

4. obsolete : equal in might or authority

ancestors who stood equivalent with mighty kings — Shakespeare

5. chemistry : having the same combining capacity

equivalent quantities of two elements

6. : contemporaneous in deposition ; sometimes : containing the same fauna or flora — used of strata

7. of a map projection : equal-area

Synonyms: see same

II. noun

( -s )

1. : one that is equivalent (as in value, meaning, or effect)

a price that was the equivalent of 10-years rent

two years of high-school Latin or the equivalent

a word with no equivalent in the English language

the prose equivalent of a poem

the secret Australian ballot … and its mechanical equivalent , the voting machine — H.R.Penniman

: counterpart

the Chinese equivalents of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia

the governor of Jerusalem (the modern equivalent of Pontius Pilate) — H.J.Laski

2. or equivalent weight

a. : the relative mass of an element that has the same combining capacity as a given mass of another element, the standard now usually being eight for oxygen but formerly one for hydrogen : the atomic weight divided by the valence — called also combining weight

b. : the relative mass of a radical or compound that combines with a given mass of an element, radical, or compound

one equivalent of a base reacts with one of an acid to form a normal salt

especially : the mass of a compound that reacts with one equivalent of a given chemical element

3. : a psychopathological symptom replacing the usual one in a given disorder

a twilight state may be an epileptic equivalent

III. adjective

1. : having the same solution set

equivalent equations

2. : related by an equivalence relation

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.