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 (kŏm′pər-ə-bəl, -prə-bəl)
1. Admitting of comparison with another or others: "The satellite revolution is comparable to Gutenberg's invention of movable type" (Irvin Molotsky).
2. Similar or equivalent: pianists of comparable ability.

com′pa·ra·bil′i·ty, com′pa·ra·ble·ness n.
com′pa·ra·bly adv.
Usage Note: Usually when the suffix -able is attached to a word, the stress pattern of the original word remains the same. For example, when -able is added to manage, the stress remains on the first syllable. Compare, which is stressed on the second syllable, is a prominent exception to this pattern. Comparable is traditionally pronounced with stress on the first syllable. In our 2002 survey, 70 percent of the Usage Panel found the pronunciation in which the second syllable is stressed (kəm-pâr′ə-bəl) to be unacceptable. This pronunciation is very common, however, and would seem likely to become more acceptable because so many other words are stressed in this pattern.



hold a candle to To be comparable in degree or kind; to be equal to, or on the same level with; to compare favorably with. This expression dates from the 16th century. At that time, it was the custom for a servant to carry a candle to light the way for his master on a nighttime walk. This subordinate position required familiarity with the layout of a town. A servant who did not know his way around was considered unfit or unable to hold a candle to his master. Figurative use of this expression—heard almost exclusively in the negative—suggests that the disparity between two people or things is so great as to render comparison impossible. One who can not or does not hold a candle to another is considered inferior.

Edith is pretty, very pretty; but she can’t hold a candle to Nellie.
(William E. Norris, No New Things, 1883)

huckleberry above one’s persimmon Beyond one’s ability or capacity; also the persimmon above one’s huckleberry. This expression, of unknown origin, dates from the early 19th century. A huckleberry is a small edible fruit; a persimmon is a plum-sized fruit. Perhaps it is this concrete contrast in physical size that gave rise to the abstract contrast in ability implied in this and similar expressions. Thomas Bangs Thorpe uses the phrase in describing the hunting exploits of one of the characters in The Mysteries of the Backwoods (1846):

It was a huckleberry above the persimmon of any native of the country.

stack up against To compare with; to correlate with or compete with. This expression alludes to the common method of evaluation in which contrasting items are set side by side in piles, and examined for quantitative comparison. The phrase is quite common in the United States.

For it tells him the productivity of his store, how one department stacks up against another. (Business Week, April, 1950)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Comparability - qualities that are comparablecomparability - qualities that are comparable; "no comparison between the two books"; "beyond compare"
alikeness, likeness, similitude - similarity in appearance or character or nature between persons or things; "man created God in his own likeness"


[kɒmpərəˈbɪlɪtɪ] Ncomparabilidad f


[ˌkɒmpərəˈbɪlɪti] ncomparabilité f
References in periodicals archive ?
A Cross-Industry Analysis of Financial Ratios: Comparabilities and Corporate Performance, by J.