Etymology
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compare (v.)

c. 1400, "regard or treat as equal;" early 15c. "liken, make a comparison, represent as similar," from Old French comparer "to compare, liken" (12c.), from Latin comparare "to liken, to compare," from com "with, together" (see com-) + par "equal" (see par (n.)). Related: Compared; comparing.

From c. 1500 as "note the similarities and differences of." Intransitive sense "bear comparison" is from mid-15c. To compare notes is from 1708.

In phrase without compare (1620s, with similar phrasing to 1530s) it might be altered by folk etymology from compeer "rival" (with-outen compere is attested from c. 1400) or blended with it; Middle English had withouten comparacioun (mid-15c.), wyþe-oute comparisoun (mid-14c.).

updated on February 08, 2018

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Definitions of compare from WordNet
1
compare (v.)
examine and note the similarities or differences of;
John compared his haircut to his friend's
We compared notes after we had both seen the movie
compare (v.)
be comparable;
This car does not compare with our line of Mercedes
compare (v.)
consider or describe as similar, equal, or analogous;
We can compare the Han dynasty to the Romans
Synonyms: liken / equate
compare (v.)
to form the comparative or superlative form on an adjective or adverb;
2
compare (n.)
qualities that are comparable;
beyond compare
Synonyms: comparison / equivalence / comparability
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.