9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ih-kwiv-uh-luh nt or for 5, ee-kwuh-vey-luh nt] /ɪˈkwɪv ə lənt or for 5, ˌi kwəˈveɪ lənt/
equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.:
His silence is equivalent to an admission of guilt.
corresponding in position, function, etc.:
In some ways their prime minister is equivalent to our president.
Geometry. having the same extent, as a triangle and a square of equal area.
Mathematics. (of two sets) able to be placed in one-to-one correspondence.
Chemistry. having the same capacity to combine or react chemically.
something that is equivalent.
Origin of equivalent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Late Latin aequivalent- (stem of aequivalēns), present participle of aequivalēre. See equi-, -valent
Related forms
equivalently, adverb
nonequivalent, adjective, noun
nonequivalently, adverb
quasi-equivalent, adjective
quasi-equivalently, adverb
superequivalent, adjective, noun
unequivalent, adjective
unequivalently, adverb
Can be confused
equivalent, equivocal.
1. See equal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for equivalent
  • The findings suggest that if patients receive equivalent treatment, the outcomes for blacks and whites can be strikingly similar.
  • Taking the nearest equivalent country from 2009 data reveals some surprises.
  • The effect is the visual equivalent of a long, cool drink of water.
  • This is the modern-day equivalent of hippies freaking out the squares.
  • It's roughly the equivalent of me sabotaging your science fair project before the judges can look at it.
  • It consumed the electrical power equivalent of a large city.
  • This binary decision is equivalent to one bit of information.
  • The odds are stacked against you so heavily that a minor loss is the equivalent of a minor victory.
  • That's the equivalent of planting about 43 acres of trees.
  • Now it seems one of the world's most popular electronic musicians has discovered the modern digital equivalent.
British Dictionary definitions for equivalent


equal or interchangeable in value, quantity, significance, etc
having the same or a similar effect or meaning
  1. having a particular property in common; equal
  2. (of two equations or inequalities) having the same set of solutions
  3. (of two sets) having the same cardinal number
(maths, logic) (of two propositions) having an equivalence between them
something that is equivalent
short for equivalent weight
Derived Forms
equivalently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin aequivalēns, from aequivalēre to be equally significant, from Latin aequi-equi- + valēre to be worth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for equivalent

early 15c., from Middle French equivalent and directly from Late Latin aequivalentem (nominative aequivalens) "equivalent," present participle of aequivalere "be equivalent," from Latin aequus "equal" (see equal) + valere "be well, be worth" (see valiant). As a noun from c.1500.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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equivalent in Medicine

equivalent e·quiv·a·lent (ĭ-kwĭv'ə-lənt)
Equal, as in value, force, or meaning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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equivalent in Science
  1. Equal, as in value, meaning, or force.

    1. Of or relating to a relation between two elements that is reflexive, symmetric, and transitive.

    2. Having a one-to-one correspondence, as between parts. Two triangles having the same area are equivalent, as are two congruent geometric figures.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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