0

What is (or which are) the proper adjective to denote "two things that can be made equal (in a mathematical sense)".

Both the words "equalable" and "equalizable" have been used, but it is unclear to me whether they are correct (or at least admissible).

Which one is more advisable? Is there a better alternative to them?

Edit The context is quite technical, but a reasonable approximation would be that of two formal expressions having a common variable, say x. Then, the two expressions are ''equalable'' if they are equal for at least one value of x. For example:

The expressions "x*x" and "2*x" are equalable (taking x=2).

The expressions "x*0" and "x/x" are not equalable.

  • What sort of things? Can you give us an example sentence? 'Equivalent' might work, but it's hard to tell. – marcellothearcane Oct 11 '19 at 11:26
  • @marcellothearcane See the edit to the question. "Equivalent" will not work because of course there are values of x for which the expressions are not equal. They are equal just for some values of x. – suitangi Oct 11 '19 at 11:42
  • I have not heard equalable used for mathematics. Instead, I have heard "What are the roots of x^2=2x?" or "how many solutions are there for x/x?" or "What is y such that y=x*0?" The answers would be "2", "infinite," or the "the set of all reals," respectively. – rajah9 Oct 11 '19 at 11:52
  • The term 'equilibratable' is found – rarely, but in pretty prestigious articles. It is probably in OED. In maths jargon, you'd expect [∃x ∈ R]: x*x = 2*x – Edwin Ashworth Oct 11 '19 at 13:52
  • So xx and 2x *intersect. And 0*x and x/x never intersect. – Jim Oct 11 '19 at 18:19
1

This is one of those words you imagine might exist but probably doesn't – and if it does, it will be too obscure to use or have a default meaning other than the one you want. However, according to Merriam-Webster

equatable adjective: capable of being equated

different but equatable terminologies — Ethel Albert

and we surely need the appropriate sense of equate:

equate ... transitive verb

1a: to make equal : EQUALIZE

[M-W]

The fact that this is listed first by M-W is encouraging, but that could be because it is the most transparent sense rather than the most common. And even if the 'make equal' sense is the most common, this does not mean that 'equatable' might not have the default meaning 'that can be regarded/shown/treated as equivalent'.

'Equalisable', and as mentioned in a comment 'equilibratable', are sometimes found, but it seems more usual to find workarounds.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.