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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 2 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

[ODO]

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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
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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
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@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
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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
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This term is not used in the sense of one of the objects being compared. "even taking the most favourable comparator the company is about 20 per cent higher" uses comparator in the sense of by the highest/lowest standard -- apparently you misunderstood the term. – Kris May 3 '13 at 12:05

Comparand is the term used in technical contexts for the objects being compared, similarly to operand. – Kris May 3 '13 at 12:03

Comparator, on the other hand, is the thing (device or algorithm) that performs the comparison.

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