General English

  • verb to look at two things side by side to see how they are different


  • verb to find the similarities and dissimilarities between two or more things


  • verb to look at several things to see how they differ


  • The examining of two or more items or quantities, so as to ascertain if they are equivalent or not. If they are not, a determination can be made, for instance, as to their relative magnitude. In computers, compare operations are used, for instance, when analyzing, sorting, or deciding which action to take after a given operation. Also called compare operation.

Origin & History of “compare”

Compare comes via Old French comparer from Latin comparāre ‘couple, match’, a verb based on the adjective compar ‘equal’, a compound formed from the prefix com- ‘mutually’ and pār ‘equal’ (source of English pair, peer, and parity). The Latin derivative noun comparātiō gave Old French comparesoun and hence English comparison (14th c.).