1. Having the same quantity, measure, or value as another.
2. Mathematics Being the same or identical to in value.
a. Having the same privileges, status, or rights: equal before the law.
b. Being the same for all members of a group: gave every player an equal chance to win.
a. Having the requisite qualities, such as strength or ability, for a task or situation: Elizabeth found herself quite equal to the scene (Jane Austen).
b. Adequate in extent, amount, or degree.
5. Impartial; just; equitable.
6. Tranquil; equable.
7. Showing or having no variance in proportion, structure, or appearance.
1. To be equal to, especially in value.
2. To do, make, or produce something equal to: equaled the world record in the mile run.
It has been argued that equal
is an absolute term
two quantities either are or are not equal
and hence cannot be qualified as to degree. Therefore one cannot logically speak of a more equal allocation of resources among the departments.
However, this usage was accepted by 71 percent of the Usage Panel in an earlier survey. Objections to the more equal
construction rest on the assumption that the mathematical notion of equality is appropriate to the description of a world where the equality of two quantities is often an approximate matter, and where statements of equality are always relative to an implicit standard of tolerance. When someone says The two boards are of equal length,
we assume that the equality is reckoned to some order of approximation determined by the context; if we did not, we would be required always to use nearly equal
when speaking of the dimensions of physical objects. What is more, we often speak of the equality of things that cannot be measured quantitatively, as when we say The college draft was introduced in an effort to make the teams in the National Football League as equal as possible,
or The candidates for the job should all be given equal consideration.
In all such cases equality is naturally a gradient notion and can be modified in degree. This much is evident from the existence of the word unequal,
for the prefix un-
attaches only to gradient adjectives. We say unmanly
but not unmale;
and the word uneven
can be applied to a surface (whose evenness may be a matter of degree) but not to a number (whose evenness is an either/or affair). · The adverb equally
is generally regarded as redundant when used in combination with as.
In an earlier survey, 63 percent of the Usage Panel found the following examples unacceptably redundant: Experience is equally as valuable as theory. Equally as important is the desire to learn.
To eliminate the redundancy, equally
should be deleted from the first example and as
from the second. The solution to this usage problem usually involves using as
alone when a comparison is explicit and equally
alone when it is not. See Usage Notes at absolute