equal


equal
equal
1. As a verb, equal has inflected forms equalled, equalling in BrE and equaled, equaling in AmE.
2. As an adjective, equal is followed by to (The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides), whereas the verb takes a direct object without to (The square on the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares on the other two sides). Equal to also had the meaning ‘fit for, able to deal with’

• (I hope I shall be equal to the challenge —P. Street, 1990)

when it is followed by a verb this should be a verbal noun ending in -ing, not an infinitive (They are not equal to performing [☒ to perform] the task).
3. Ellipsis (omission) of to should be avoided in phrases such as equal to or greater than, as in

• Their budget must be equal to or greater than the minimum total cost of supplying the expected output —B. C. Smith, 1988.

4. Equal is often regarded as an absolute that cannot be qualified by words such as very, more, rather, etc. However, this rule does not apply to all its meanings, and it is legitimate to say, for example, They wanted a more equal allocation of resources, in which equal means ‘fair’ as much as ‘divided equally’. There is also George Orwell's famous line

• All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others —Animal Farm, 1945

which is often recalled allusively in uses such as the following:

• All victims are equal. None are more equal than others. —John Le Carré, 1989

• The embryo has rights. Are all human beings equal, or are some more equal than others? —Sun, 2005.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • equal — Ⅰ. equal UK US /ˈiːkwəl/ adjective ► the same in price, number, size, etc.: »The values of cross border and internal sales were about equal over the year. an equal amount/number/share »Instead of an equal share, we got only one fifth of the… …   Financial and business terms

  • Equal — E qual, a. [L. aequalis, fr. aequus even, equal; akin to Skr. ?ka, and perh. to L. unus for older oinos one, E. one.] 1. Agreeing in quantity, size, quality, degree, value, etc.; having the same magnitude, the same value, the same degree, etc.;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • equal — 1 adj [Latin aequalis, from aequus level, equal] 1: like in quality, nature, or status 2: like for each member of a group, class, or society 3: regarding or affecting all objects in the same way: impartial equal 2 …   Law dictionary

  • equal — [ē′kwəl] adj. [ME < L aequalis, equal < aequus, level, even, flat] 1. of the same quantity, size, number, value, degree, intensity, quality, etc. 2. having the same rights, privileges, ability, rank, etc. 3. evenly proportioned; balanced or …   English World dictionary

  • Equal — E qual, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Equaled}or {Equalled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Equaling} or {Equalling}.] 1. To be or become equal to; to have the same quantity, the same value, the same degree or rank, or the like, with; to be commen?urate with. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • equal — ► ADJECTIVE 1) being the same in quantity, size, degree, value, or status. 2) evenly or fairly balanced: an equal contest. 3) (equal to) having the ability or resources to meet (a challenge). ► NOUN ▪ a person or thing that is equal to another. ► …   English terms dictionary

  • equal ~ — to (one kilometer is equal to five eighths of a mile; equal to the occasion) equal in (equal in price) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • Equal — E qual, n. 1. One not inferior or superior to another; one having the same or a similar age, rank, station, office, talents, strength, or other quality or condition; an equal quantity or number; as, If equals be taken from equals the remainders… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Equal — commonly refers to a state of equality.Equal may also refer to:* Equals sign, or the symbol = * An equality operator, a relational operator expressed as = in C style * Equal (sweetener), a brand of artificial sweetener * EQUAL Community… …   Wikipedia

  • equal — [adj1] alike according, balanced, break even, commensurate, comparable, coordinate, correspondent, corresponding, double, duplicate, egalitarian, equivalent, evenly matched, fifty fifty*, homologous, identic, identical, indistinguishable,… …   New thesaurus


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