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I'm searching for a word in English that means "something to compare against", or "the other side of the compare". Is there a single word for this?

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Comparand is the term used in technical contexts for the objects being compared, similarly to operand. – Kris May 3 '13 at 12:03
@Kris thanks, I think I was looking for this word after all! – n611x007 May 3 '13 at 13:16
This question really deserves more credit than it's getting! – Panzercrisis Mar 31 at 20:46
@Kris You should add your comment as an answer. – Panzercrisis Apr 1 at 14:00
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The standard against which something is compared is a comparator.

comparator noun
something used as a standard for comparison:
even taking the most favourable comparator the company is about 20 per cent higher


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how do I know this is not a verb but a noun? it sounds like it could be used as a verb. it would make use to me if the word I use could be seen clearly as a noun. (I would use it in a programming context where an arbitrary name could either mean a function or a data.) – n611x007 May 3 '13 at 10:02
Words ending -or are in general agent nouns. Compare is the verb. Comparator is something used in the act of comparing. – Andrew Leach May 3 '13 at 10:08
@naxa How would you ascertain whether any English word you're unfamiliar with is a noun / verb ... - or indeed, whether it is intercategorially polysemous (occurs in different constructions as a noun / verb / ...)? Admittedly, I had to go beyond my usual favourites at freedictionary.com to see the general usage Andrew mentions; oxforddictionaries has: comparator [(2)] something used as a standard for comparison - but all the dictionaries I looked at say it's a noun (and never anything else). – Edwin Ashworth May 3 '13 at 10:50
Comparator is "a device for comparing a measurable property or thing with a reference or standard." or the standard itself. – Kris May 3 '13 at 11:59
@Kris Yes: but I answered the question with the relevant part of the definition, indicated an omission (of data which is not relevant) and gave a link to the complete version. Why the downvote? – Andrew Leach May 3 '13 at 12:04

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