Definition of compare in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəmˈpɛː/


[with object]
1Estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between: individual schools compared their facilities with those of others in the area the survey compares prices in different countries total attendance figures were 28,000, compared to 40,000 at last year’s event
More example sentences
  • These estimates of intrusion times may be compared to estimates based on magma supply through dykes.
  • The test was compared to one where similar cells were not exposed to such radio waves.
  • The wine list, again, was cheap compared to uptown prices and so we settled for a bottle of Brouilly at just under thirty bucks.
contrast, set side by side, juxtapose, collate, differentiate, weigh up, balance, weigh/balance/measure the differences between
1.1 (compare something to) Point out or describe the resemblances with; liken to: her novel was compared to the work of Daniel Defoe
liken, equate, analogize;
draw an analogy between, make an analogy between, mention in the same breath as, class with, bracket with, group with, put together with, set side by side with, regard as the same as, regard as identical to
1.2 (compare something to) Draw an analogy between one thing and (another) for the purposes of explanation or clarification: he compared the religions to different paths towards the peak of the same mountain
More example sentences
  • You might think that this isn't a very good analogy, comparing prisons to a commercial passenger jet.
  • I like to use the analogy of comparing a campaign to a car.
  • We use things like analogies and say well compare it to how a flower grows, or find a comparison that is an every day common experience that makes sense.
1.3 [no object, with adverbial] Have a specified relationship with another thing or person in terms of nature or quality: salaries compare favourably with those of other professions
More example sentences
  • His nine-year sentence, as his attorney rightly points out, compares unfavourably to the terms handed out to robbers.
  • Bottom line, for me, is that it works, works quickly and, in terms of side-effects, compares favourably with, say, antidepressant medication.
  • To understand our new defense vision, we can view it in terms of how it compares to what came before; clearly, it differs from our former strategies.
be (nearly) as good as, be comparable to, bear comparison with, be the equal of, match up to, be on a par with, be in the same class as, be in the same league as, be on a level with, compete with, come up to, come near to, come close to, hold a candle to, be not unlike, be not dissimilar to, equal roughly;
match, resemble, emulate, rival, approach, approximate, touch, nudge
informal be not a million miles from
1.4 [no object, usually with negative] Be of an equal or similar nature or quality: the dried stuff just can’t compare with the taste and aroma of fresh basil
More example sentences
  • Nothing, though, will compare with competing in the Masters.
  • The only thing approaching a standard to compare with the floppy is the CD-R which is an inconvenient form factor and scores low on ease of use.
  • When it came to tie holes, however, nothing could compare with the drama of the match.
2 Grammar Form the comparative and superlative degrees of (an adjective or an adverb): words of one syllable are usually compared by ‘-er’ and ‘-est’


(in phrase beyond or without compare) literary
Of a quality or nature surpassing all others of the same kind: a diamond beyond compare
More example sentences
  • Everything about him had been perfect beyond compare, and I had thought that if things were going to change, they were only going to get better.
  • Year One is an action-adventure story without compare.
  • Having lived there for nearly 30 years, I discovered a community spirit beyond compare.
without equal, without match, without parallel, beyond comparison, second to none, in a class of one's own;
peerless, matchless, unmatched, incomparable, inimitable, superlative, supreme, top, outstanding, consummate, unique, singular, rare, perfect;
French par excellence


Is there any difference between compare with and compare to, and is one more correct than the other? There is a slight difference, in that it is usual to use to rather than with when describing the resemblance, by analogy, of two quite different things, as in critics compared Ellington’s music to the music of Beethoven and Brahms. In the sense ‘estimate the similarity or dissimilarity between’, with is often preferred to to, as in schools compared their facilities with those of others in the area. However, in practice the distinction is not clear-cut and both compare with and compare to can be used in either context.


compare notes

Exchange ideas, opinions, or information about a particular subject: the women compared notes on how their husbands were doing
More example sentences
  • They've been exchanging opinions and comparing notes since the early 1980s.
  • This offers an outstanding way to ‘cross-pollinate’ information by comparing notes in an environment that would force analysts to stand behind their work.
  • I laughed and changed the subject, comparing notes on gifts we had bought for family and mutual friends.


Late Middle English: from Old French comparer, from Latin comparare, from compar 'like, equal', from com- 'with' + par 'equal'.

  • pair from Middle English:

    Pair comes from Latin paria ‘equal things’, formed from par ‘equal’. Latin par also lies behind compare (Late Middle English) ‘to pair with, bring together’; disparage (Middle English) originally ‘a mis-pairing especially in marriage’, later ‘to discredit’; nonpareil (Late Middle English) ‘not equalled’ (taken directly from the French); par (late 16th century) ‘equal’, a golfing term from L19th; parity [L16] ‘equalness’; peer (Middle English) ‘equal’; and umpire (Middle English) originally noumpere, from the same source as nonpareil, because an umpire is above all the players. A noumpere was later re-interpreted as ‘an umpire’ and the initial ‘n’ was lost.

Words that rhyme with compare

affair, affaire, air, Altair, Althusser, Anvers, Apollinaire, Astaire, aware, Ayer, Ayr, bare, bear, bêche-de-mer, beware, billionaire, Blair, blare, Bonaire, cafetière, care, chair, chargé d'affaires, chemin de fer, Cher, Clair, Claire, Clare, commissionaire, concessionaire, cordon sanitaire, couvert, Daguerre, dare, debonair, declare, derrière, despair, doctrinaire, éclair, e'er, elsewhere, ensnare, ere, extraordinaire, Eyre, fair, fare, fayre, Finisterre, flair, flare, Folies-Bergère, forbear, forswear, foursquare, glair, glare, hair, hare, heir, Herr, impair, jardinière, Khmer, Kildare, La Bruyère, lair, laissez-faire, legionnaire, luminaire, mal de mer, mare, mayor, meunière, mid-air, millionaire, misère, Mon-Khmer, multimillionaire, ne'er, Niger, nom de guerre, outstare, outwear, pair, pare, parterre, pear, père, pied-à-terre, Pierre, plein-air, prayer, questionnaire, rare, ready-to-wear, rivière, Rosslare, Santander, savoir faire, scare, secretaire, share, snare, solitaire, Soufrière, spare, square, stair, stare, surface-to-air, swear, Tailleferre, tare, tear, their, there, they're, vin ordinaire, Voltaire, ware, wear, Weston-super-Mare, where, yeah

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com|pare

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