Meaning of “equal” in the English Dictionary

"equal" in British English

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equaladjective

uk /ˈiː.kwəl/ us /ˈiː.kwəl/

equal adjective (SAME)

B1 the same in amount, number, or size:

One litre is equal to 1.76 imperial pints.
One box may look bigger than the other, but in fact they are roughly (= almost) equal in volume.

B1 the same in importance and deserving the same treatment:

All people are equal, deserving the same rights as each other.
They've got a long way to go before they achieve equal pay/status for men and women.

More examples

  • Are the two bags equal in weight?
  • He believes that all children are born with equal intelligence.
  • We must make sure that everyone gets equal shares of the food.
  • Applicants should have a degree or a qualification of equal status.
  • One unit of alcohol is equal to half a pint of beer or a standard measure of spirits.

equalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈiː.kwəl/ us /ˈiː.kwəl/

B2 someone or something that has the same importance as someone or something else and deserves the same treatment:

The good thing about her as a boss is that she treats us all as equals.
Throughout her marriage she never considered her husband as her intellectual equal.
As an all-round athlete he has no equal (= no-one else is as good).

More examples

  • She found that if women did serious and worthwhile scientific work, male scientists were willing to treat them as equals.
  • As a friend and companion, no one could ever be her equal.

equalverb [ L only + noun, T ]

uk /ˈiː.kwəl/ us /ˈiː.kwəl/ -ll- or US usually -l-

(Definition of “equal” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"equal" in American English

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equaladjective

us /ˈi·kwəl/

equal adjective (SAME IN AMOUNT)

mathematics symbol = the same in amount, number, or size:

One quart is equal to four cups.
Divide the class into equal groups.

equal adjective (DESERVING THE SAME)

the same in importance and (of people) deserving the same treatment:

equal rights
We want a society that promotes equal opportunity for all of its citizens.
equally
adjective us /ˈi·kwə·li/

The money was shared equally among the three sisters.

equalnoun [ C ]

us /ˈi·kwəl/

equal noun [ C ] (PERSON/THING)

someone or something that is the same in amount, size, or importance as another person or thing:

In this country, we’re all equals with the same rights.
As an all-around athlete he has no equal (= no one else is as good).

equalverb

us /ˈi·kwəl/ symbol =

equal verb (BE SAME IN AMOUNT)

mathematics to be the same in amount, number, size, or importance as another:

[ L ] 10 + 10 = 20
[ T ] We hope to equal the amount of money we raised last year.

(Definition of “equal” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"equal" in Business English

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equaladjective

uk /ˈiːkwəl/ us

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 profits.
equal to sth She received a bonus of $15,065, equal to 40% of her salary.
equal in number/value/size Sakhalin is an island north of Japan, with oil and gas reserves equal in size to those remaining in the North Sea.

treating everyone in the same way or allowing everyone to have the same opportunities:

Relationships within an organization are never equal.
Congress should focus its efforts on providing equal access to good quality education and job skills.
on an equal basis/footing/on equal terms By law, job applications from disabled people should be treated on an equal basis to those from non-disabled candidates.
all things being equal

if the situation remains the same as it is now, or continues as expected:

All things being equal, the market should have recovered by the end of the year.
be equal to (doing) sth

to have the ability, experience, or skill that is necessary to do something difficult:

I'm not sure he's equal to the demands of such a high-pressure job.

equalverb [ T ]

uk /ˈiːkwəl/ us UK -ll-, US -l-

to be the same in price, number, size, etc:

Pre-tax profits are likely to equal last year's despite a £41 million share buy-back programme.
Casinos currently pay tax equaling 20% of their gross revenue.
equal the cost/number/amount of sth If every household used energy-saving bulbs, the reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions would equal the amount produced by almost 800,000 cars.

if one thing equals another thing, it results in that thing:

Experience has shown us that more accountability equals better performance.

equalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈiːkwəl/ us

someone or something who is as important, successful, etc. as someone or something else:

be the equal of sb/be sb's equal The EU increasingly sees itself as the equal of the US.
On a professional and personal level the two men were equals.
treat/accept/see sb as an equal Even though I was only a trainee, I was treated as an equal by the other staff.

(Definition of “equal” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)