Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1400-1500
Language: French
Origin: comparer, from Latin comparare, from compar 'like', from com- ( COM-) + par 'equal'


1 verb
com‧pare1 S1 W1
1 [transitive] to examine or judge two or more things in order to show how they are similar to or different from each other [↪ comparison, comparative]:
The report compares the different types of home computer available.
compare something/somebody with something/somebody
The police compared the suspect's fingerprints with those found at the crime scene.
compare something/somebody to something/somebody
Davies' style of writing has been compared to Dickens'.
compare and contrast (=an expression used when telling students to write about the things that are similar or different in works of literature or art)
Compare and contrast the main characters of these two novels.

compared to/with something

used when considering the size, quality, or amount of something in relation to something similar:
a 20% reduction in burglary compared with last year
Compared to our small flat, Bill's house seemed like a palace.
3 [intransitive] to be better or worse than something else
compare (favourably/unfavourably) with something
The quality of English wines can now compare with wines from Germany.
How does life in Britain compare with life in the States?
The imported fabric is 30% cheaper and compares favourably (=is as good) in quality.

something doesn't/can't compare (with something)

if something does not compare with something else, it is not as good, large etc:
The rides at the fair just can't compare with the rides at Disneyland.

compare notes (with somebody)

informal to talk to someone in order to find out if their experience of something is the same as yours:
Leading scientists got together in Paris to compare notes on current research.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary