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[uhn-ee-kwuh l] /ʌnˈi kwəl/
not equal; not of the same quantity, quality, value, rank, ability, etc.:
People are unequal in their capacities.
not adequate, as in amount, power, ability, etc. (usually followed by to):
strength unequal to the task.
not evenly proportioned or balanced; not having the parts alike or symmetrical:
an unequal leaf.
uneven or variable in character, quality, etc.
Obsolete. inequitable; unfair; unjust.
unequals, persons or things not equal to each other:
a contest between obvious unequals.
Origin of unequal
1525-35; un-1 + equal
Related forms
unequally, adverb
unequalness, noun
subunequal, adjective
subunequally, adverb
subunequalness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unequally
Historical Examples
  • The burden of conversation is unequally distributed if one has to think of two answers to each one remark of one's interlocutor.

    The Arbiter Lady F. E. E. Bell
  • Marriage has ever been a one-sided matter, resting most unequally upon the sexes.

    Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz
  • In full leaf, it is unequally pleasing; it has the appearance of an overgrown bush.

    Woodland Gleanings Charles Tilt
  • Our perceptions, æsthetic and gastronomic, were unequally developed.

    The Foot-path Way Bradford Torrey
  • King Olaf was ordering a change of faith in Norway, and the people took to it most unequally.

    Laxdla Saga Anonymous
  • His lips were bloodless as he stared at the unequally matched pair.

    Joshua, Complete Georg Ebers
  • There is not one law for the rich and another for the poor; if there were they might not be so unequally treated.

  • It is unequally and often unjustly or defectively administered.

  • The town has been laid out with great rectangularity; the river divides it unequally.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • There can be no doubt that the antagonists were unequally matched.

    Locke Thomas Fowler
British Dictionary definitions for unequally


not equal in quantity, size, rank, value, etc
(foll by to) inadequate; insufficient
not evenly balanced
(of character, quality, etc) irregular; varying; inconsistent
(of a contest, etc) having competitors of different ability
(obsolete) unjust
Derived Forms
unequally, adverb
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 unequally



1530s, "unjust, unfair," from un- (1) "not" + equal (adj.). Meaning "not the same in amount, size, quality, etc." is recorded from 1560s (inequal in this sense is from late 14c.). Sense of "inadequate, insufficient" (to some task) is attested from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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