When a person refers to two things/ideas that are plainly not the same and not equal and tries to make give them equal value, or honor (usually abstract ideas), they are "____________ing" the two ideas.

This is often done to avoid contention that the differences of the two ideas would cause. You might say they try and place equal value on two obviously unequal things/ideas.

The closest word that I can find is "equate," but it seems I have come across a much more accurate word to describe this idea.

Thanks for any help.

  • 2
    In what sense are they calling them equal? For example, similes and metaphors do this by highlighting the similarities and ignoring the differences. Also, does the term you're looking for have a positive or negative connotation?
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 10:20
  • Usually this kind of thing is negative by the speaker. See comment under equalize answer. Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:40
  • equating, relating, comparing
    – Drew
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 16:10
  • @preahkumpii Thanks for answering my second question. Can you also address the question of what you mean by equality? Perhaps an example might help. What are two ideas that are made to be equal when they aren't?
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:16
  • After reading all the answers so far equate is still the best option to me. See Merriam-Webster 2--"equates disagreement with disloyalty"--or OLD--"Some parents equate education with exam success; I don't see how you can equate the two things"
    – Jacinto
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:35

5 Answers 5


One word frequently used in such contexts is "bracketing" to mean "treating two (often dissimilar) things similarly".


3. verb
If two or more people or things are bracketed together, they are considered to be similar or related in some way.
The Magi, Bramins, and Druids were bracketed together as men of wisdom.
Austrian wine styles are often bracketed with those of northern Germany.

COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers


bracket VERB


2 Place (one or more people or things) in the same category or group.

‘They argued that voluntary clubs, like charities, should not be bracketed alongside profit-making businesses when it comes to rates valuations.’


Maybe to balance would work:

to equal or equalize in weight, number, or proportion

(source: Merriam-Webster)


There is conflate, which can mean to bring together, or mix up, in such a way that an equivalence is falsely implied.

Merriam-Webster has

1 a : to bring together : fuse

b : confuse

and includes the example:

be careful not to conflate gossip with real news

Wiktionary has:

3 To fail to properly distinguish or keep separate (things); to mistakenly treat (them) as equivalent.

and for conflation Wikipedia has:

Conflation happens when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, seem to be a single identity, and the differences appear to become lost.

  • 2
    I'm sorry but conflate in the sense pf joining together invites other words that mean join together. The OP may be looking for this word but it certainly is not what the question demands.
    – vickyace
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:16
  • To purposefully conflate might be similar, but like the definition says, I am not referring to improperly distinguishing two things, but to purposefully giving to things equal value that are not equal. Something like saying "dishonestly equate." Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:37
  • 1
    Hi. Conflate is used to mean "dishonestly equate". A failure to do something (per one of the definitions above, "fail to properly distinguish") doesn't mean that the failure isn't intentional. E.g. to neglect is used for a deliberate failure to act. Conflation is deployed in argument as a logical fallacy, which is one of the senses I understood the OP indicated. For example, this article spells out an accusation of conflation/equalization in the first par. medium.com/@DevynSpringer/… Hope this helps clarify my intention.
    – remnant
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:58


  • Make the same in quantity, size, or degree throughout a place or group.

‘the purpose is to equalize the workload among tutors’

  • Make uniform in application or effect.

‘Britain is required to equalize pension rights between men and women’

  • Similar yes, but the difference would be you are not actually making two things equal, but just saying they are equal for effect: giving a value judgment on the two as equal because you want yours to be just as good as another, for instance. Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:39

Comparing two positions or events or groups as if they are equal is creating an equivalence.

If the positions do not both have logical support, if the events do not have similar significance, or if the groups do not have comparable membership, methods, or effects, then it can be a false equivalence:

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not.

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