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[sim-uh-ler] /ˈsɪm ə lər/
having a likeness or resemblance, especially in a general way:
two similar houses.
Geometry. (of figures) having the same shape; having corresponding sides proportional and corresponding angles equal:
similar triangles.
Mathematics. (of two square matrices) related by means of a similarity transformation.
Origin of similar
1605-15; earlier similary < French similaire or Medieval Latin similāris, equivalent to Latin simil(is) like, similar (akin to simul together; cf. simplex) + -āris -ar1
Related forms
similarly, adverb
nonsimilar, adjective
nonsimilarly, adverb
quasi-similar, adjective
quasi-similarly, adverb
self-similar, adjective
unsimilar, adjective
unsimilarly, adverb
1. like, resembling. See same.
1. different. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for similar
  • Yet, they are similar since they all contain the necessary ingredients for tropical cyclone formation.
  • But though they have a similar structure to some tornadoes, they form much differently.
  • Accounts of similar animal anticipation of earthquakes have surfaced across the centuries since.
  • similar species occur nearby in space because they have descended from common ancestors.
  • Inform students that some animals, such as some bats and whales, use a similar method to find out what's around them.
  • Subsequently the birds avoided all similar-looking frogs, even those that weren't exact mimics.
  • These are made of skin stretched over long bones similar to your fingers.
  • But scientists have been puzzled to find that neighboring plants not being eaten by the insects send out similar calls for help.
  • But a swarm comprises many small, similar-size earthquakes.
  • Ask students to consider how exclaves and enclaves are similar and different from other landlocked countries.
British Dictionary definitions for similar


showing resemblance in qualities, characteristics, or appearance; alike but not identical
(geometry) (of two or more figures) having corresponding angles equal and all corresponding sides in the same ratio Compare congruent (sense 2)
(maths) (of two classes) equinumerous
Derived Forms
similarity (ˌsɪmɪˈlærɪtɪ) noun
similarly, adverb
Usage note
As should not be used after similar: Wilson held a similar position to Jones (not a similar position as Jones); the system is similar to the one in France (not similar as the one in France)
Word Origin
C17: from Old French similaire, from Latin similis
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 similar

"having characteristics in common," 1610s (earlier similary, 1560s), from French similaire, from a Medieval Latin extended form of Latin similis "like, resembling," from Old Latin semol "together," from PIE root *sem- (1) "one, as one, together with" (see same). The noun meaning "that which is similar" is from 1650s. Related: Similarly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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