Literally, the state of being when two objects can be compared and found to contrast in exactly zero respects.

By extension, all sorts of silly ideas having to do with race, religion, and operating systems.

There is fine semantic distinction between equality and equivalence. Equality is the situation in which two things are exactly identical in all respects, Whereas equivalence is the situation in which two things are indistinguishable with respect to some predetermined set of qualifications. When we speak of racial, religious, etc. EQUALITY, what we really should be saying is EQUIVALENCE.

E*qual"i*ty (?), n.; pl. Equalities (#). [L. aequalitas, fr. aequalis equal. See Equal.]

1.

The condition or quality of being equal; agreement in quantity or degree as compared; likeness in bulk, value, rank, properties, etc.; as, the equality of two bodies in length or thickness; an equality of rights.

A footing of equality with nobles. Macaulay.

2.

Sameness in state or continued course; evenness; uniformity; as, an equality of temper or constitution.

3.

Evenness; uniformity; as, an equality of surface.

4. Math.

Exact agreement between two expressions or magnitudes with respect to quantity; -- denoted by the symbol =; thus, a = x signifies that a contains the same number and kind of units of measure that x does.

Confessional equality. See under Confessional.

 

© Webster 1913.

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