from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Relating to, based on, or involving comparison.
  • adj. Of or relating to the scientific or historical comparison of different phenomena, institutions, or objects, such as languages, legal systems, or anatomical structures, in an effort to understand their origins or relationships.
  • adj. Estimated by comparison; relative: a comparative newcomer.
  • adj. Grammar Of, relating to, or being the intermediate degree of comparison of adjectives, as better, sweeter, or more wonderful, or adverbs, as more softly.
  • n. Grammar The comparative degree.
  • n. Grammar An adjective or adverb expressing the comparative degree.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or relating to comparison.
  • adj. Using comparison as a method of study, or founded on something using it.
  • adj. Approximated by comparison; relative.
  • adj. Comparable; bearing comparison.
  • n. A construction showing a relative quality, in English usually formed by adding more or appending -er. For example, the comparative of green is greener; of evil, more evil.
  • n. A word in the comparative form.
  • n. An equal; a rival; a compeer.
  • n. One who makes comparisons; one who affects wit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to comparison.
  • adj. Proceeding from, or by the method of, comparison.
  • adj. Estimated by comparison; relative; not positive or absolute, as compared with another thing or state.
  • adj. Expressing a degree greater or less than the positive degree of the quality denoted by an adjective or adverb. The comparative degree is formed from the positive by the use of -er, more, or less.
  • n. The comparative degree of adjectives and adverbs; also, the form by which the comparative degree is expressed.
  • n. An equal; a rival; a compeer.
  • n. One who makes comparisons; one who affects wit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Estimated by comparison; not positive or absolute; relative.
  • Proceeding by comparison; founded on comparison; especially, founded on the comparison or the parallel pursuit of different branches of the same science or study: as, comparative anatomy; comparative grammar.
  • Making use of comparison or the comparative method.
  • Having the power of comparing; capable of noting similarities and differences.
  • In grammar, implying comparison; denoting a higher degree of a quality, relation, etc., as belonging to one object or set of objects as compared with another.
  • n. One who is equal or pretends to be an equal; a rival; a competitor.
  • n. In grammar, the comparative degree, or a word expressing it. See I., 5.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. estimated by comparison; not absolute or complete
  • n. the comparative form of an adjective or adverb
  • adj. relating to or based on or involving comparison


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originated 1400–50 from late Middle English comparative, from Latin comparativus, equivalent to comparatus, from comparare ("to compare") + -ive, from Latin -ivus.


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  • You have a degree in comparative literature from Harvard but dropped out before getting your Ph.D. from Yale.

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  • Grossman holds degrees in comparative literature from Harvard and Yale.

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  • Batuman went on to complete her doctorate in comparative literature at Stanford University, where she currently teaches in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program.

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  • In 1993, Hatch, along with 20 other GOP senators — including Grassley, Bennett, and Bond — introduced a health care plan that would have required everyone to buy coverage, capped awards for medical malpractice lawsuits, established minimum benefit packages and invested in comparative effectiveness research.

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  • Seems to me the boom in comparative economics of late is an attempt to scare us into rejecting health care reform and safety nets.

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