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Attested in the 14th Century CE; from Old French equité, from Latin aequitas (conformity”, “evenness”, “fairness).



equity (countable and uncountable, plural equities)

  1. Ownership, especially in terms of net monetary value of some business.
    • 2013 June 22, “Engineers of a different kind”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 70:
      Private-equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.
  2. (law) A legal tradition that deals with remedies other than monetary relief, such as injunctions, divorces and similar actions.
    • Macaulay
      Equity had been gradually shaping itself into a refined science which no human faculties could master without long and intense application.
  3. (law) Value of property minus liens or other encumbrances.
  4. (law) An equitable claim; an equity of redemption.
    an equity to a settlement, or wife's equity, etc.
    • Kent
      I consider the wife's equity to be too well settled to be shaken.
  5. (accounting) Ownership interest in a company as determined by subtracting liabilities from assets.
  6. Justice, impartiality or fairness.
    • Tillotson
      Christianity secures both the private interests of men and the public peace, enforcing all justice and equity.



  • equity” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.