a. Equal, as in value, force, or meaning.
b. Having similar or identical effects.
2. Being essentially equal, all things considered: a wish that was equivalent to a command.
a. Capable of being put into a one-to-one relationship. Used of two sets.
b. Having virtually identical or corresponding parts.
c. Of or relating to corresponding elements under an equivalence relation.
4. Chemistry Having the same ability to combine.
5. Logic Having equivalence: equivalent propositions.
1. Something that is essentially equal to another: "The hand is not the biological equivalent of a hammer or a screwdriver; the hand is a multipurpose tool like a Swiss Army knife" (Jonathan Gottschall).
2. Chemistry Equivalent weight.
[Middle English, from Late Latin aequivalēns, aequivalent-, present participle of aequivalēre, to have equal force : Latin aequi-, equi- + Latin valēre, to be strong; see wal- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus