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[kuh m-par-uh-tiv] /kəmˈpær ə tɪv/
of or relating to comparison.
proceeding by, founded on, or using comparison as a method of study:
comparative anatomy.
estimated by comparison; not positive or absolute; relative:
a comparative newcomer in politics; to live in comparative luxury.
Grammar. being, noting, or pertaining to the intermediate degree of the comparison of adjectives, as better and more beautiful, the comparative forms of good and beautiful, and of adverbs, as nearer and more carefully, the comparative forms of near and carefully.
Compare positive (def 20), superlative (def 2).
noun, Grammar
the comparative degree.
a form in the comparative.
Origin of comparative
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin comparātīvus, equivalent to comparāt(us) (past participle of comparāre to compare; see -ate1) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
comparatively, adverb
comparativeness, noun
Can be confused
comparable, comparative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for comparatively
  • Of all those who for hours stood there in hungry anticipation, comparatively few obtained a dinner.
  • Slot canyons are comparatively short and unusually narrow canyons that can be several hundred feet deep.
  • Energy had previously been expensive and severely limited, but nuclear energy is comparatively cheap and effectively unlimited.
  • One reason for the rapid global spread of nanotechnology is that the entry cost is comparatively low.
  • For decades this was a comparatively low-risk and low-volume operation, and violence was contained within the drug world.
  • The prosecutors gathered fresh evidence from around the globe, rendering the military's case comparatively weak.
  • comparatively, a large number of immigrants enter our country legally and become citizens legally.
  • While a decade ago the teleconferencing or video-conferencing software was comparatively primitive, today it is state of the art.
  • The fact is, she is applying for literature positions but has taught comparatively few literature courses.
  • From my research so far, corn is a comparatively lousy way to capture and store solar energy.
British Dictionary definitions for comparatively


denoting or involving comparison: comparative literature
judged by comparison; relative: a comparative loss of prestige
(grammar) denoting the form of an adjective that indicates that the quality denoted is possessed to a greater extent. In English the comparative form of an adjective is usually marked by the suffix -er or the word more Compare positive (sense 10), superlative (sense 2)
the comparative form of an adjective
Derived Forms
comparatively, adverb
comparativeness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for comparatively



mid-15c., from Middle French comparatif, from Latin comparativus "pertaining to comparison," from comparat-, past participle stem of comparare (see comparison). Originally grammatical; general sense is from c.1600; meaning "involving different branches of a subject" is from 1670s. Related: Comparatively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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comparatively in Culture

comparative definition

A form of an adjective indicating a greater degree of the quality that the adjective describes. Better is the comparative form of good; faster is the comparative form of fast; bluer is the comparative form of blue; more charming is the comparative form of charming. (Compare superlative.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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