Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: Even and éven


Wikipedia has an article on:


Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English even, from Old English efen, efn, emn ‎(even, equal, like, level, just, impartial, true), from Proto-Germanic *ebnaz ‎(flat, level, even; equal, straight), from Proto-Indo-European *(h₁)emno- ‎(equal, straight; flat, level, even). Cognate with West Frisian even ‎(even), Low German even ‎(even), Dutch even ‎(even, equal, same), effen, German eben ‎(even, flat, level), Danish jævn ‎(even, flat, smooth), Swedish jämn ‎(even, level, smooth), Icelandic jafn, jamn ‎(even, equal), Old Cornish eun ‎(equal, right) (attested in Vocabularium Cornicum eun-hinsic ‎(iustus, i. e., just)), Old Breton eun ‎(equal, right) (attested in Eutychius Glossary eunt ‎(aequus, i. e., equal)), Middle Breton effn, Breton eeun, Sanskrit अस्नस् ‎(amnás, (adverb) just, just now; at once).

The verb descends from Old English efnan; the adverb from Old English efne.

The traditional proposal connecting the Germanic adjective with the root Proto-Indo-European *(H)aim-, *h₂eim-, *(H)iem- ‎(similarity, resemblance) (Latin imāgō ‎(picture, image, likeness, copy), Latin aemulus ‎(competitor, rival), Sanskrit यमस् ‎(yamás, pair, twin)) is problematic from a phonological point of view.[1]


even ‎(comparative more even, superlative most even)

  1. Flat and level.
    Clear out those rocks. The surface must be even.
  2. Without great variation.
    Despite her fear, she spoke in an even voice.
  3. Equal in proportion, quantity, size, etc.
    The distribution of food must be even.
  4. (not comparable, of an integer) Divisible by two.
    Four, fourteen and forty are even numbers.
  5. (of a number) Convenient for rounding other numbers to; for example, ending in a zero.
    • 1989, Jerry Sterner, Other People's Money, Act I:
      Coles. How many shares have you bought, Mr. Garfinkle?
      Garfinkle. One hundred and ninety-six thousand. []
      Jorgenson. [] How'd you figure out to buy such an odd amount? Why not two hundred thousand — nice even number. Thought you liked nice even numbers.
    • 1998, Marya Hornbacher, Wasted, chapter 8, 1999 HarperPerennial paperback edition, ISBN 0060930934, page 253 [1]:
      He put me on the scale in my underwear and socks: 82 pounds. [] I left, humming all day long, remembering that once upon a time my ideal weight had been 84, and now I'd even beaten that. I decided 80 was a better number, a nice even number to be.
  6. On equal monetary terms; neither owing or being owed.
  7. (colloquial) On equal terms of a moral sort; quits.
    You biffed me back at the barn, and I biffed you here—so now we're even.
  8. parallel; on a level; reaching the same limit
    • Bible, Luke xix. 44
      And shall lay thee even with the ground.
  9. (obsolete) Without an irregularity, flaw, or blemish; pure.
    • Shakespeare
      I know my life so even.
  10. (obsolete) Associate; fellow; of the same condition.
    • Wyclif (Matt.)
      His even servant.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Because of confusion with the "divisible by two" sense, use of even to mean "convenient for rounding" is rare; the synonym round is more common.
  • (flat and level): uneven
  • (of an integer): odd
Derived terms[edit]


even ‎(third-person singular simple present evens, present participle evening, simple past and past participle evened)

  1. (transitive) To make flat and level.
    We need to even this playing field; the west goal is too low.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      His temple Xerxes evened with the soil.
    • Evelyn
      It will even all inequalities.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To equal.
    • Fuller
      to even him in valour
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To be equal.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of R. Carew to this entry?)
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To place in an equal state, as to obligation, or in a state in which nothing is due on either side; to balance, as accounts; to make quits.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To set right; to complete.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To act up to; to keep pace with.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)

(to make flat and level): flatten, level

Derived terms[edit]


even ‎(not comparable)

  1. (archaic) Exactly, just, fully.
    I fulfilled my instructions even as I had promised.  You are leaving tonight? — Even so.This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you.
  2. Implying an extreme example in the case mentioned, as compared to the implied reality.
    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.  Did you even make it through the front door?That was before I was even born.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity:
      He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him. I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me.
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterII:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, []. Even such a boat as the Mount Vernon offered a total deck space so cramped as to leave secrecy or privacy well out of the question, even had the motley and democratic assemblage of passengers been disposed to accord either.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, A Cuckoo in the Nest[2]:
      He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
    • 2013 June 29, “Unspontaneous combustion”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 29: 
      Since the mid-1980s, when Indonesia first began to clear its bountiful forests on an industrial scale in favour of lucrative palm-oil plantations, “haze” has become an almost annual occurrence in South-East Asia. The cheapest way to clear logged woodland is to burn it, producing an acrid cloud of foul white smoke that, carried by the wind, can cover hundreds, or even thousands, of square miles.
  3. Emphasizing a comparative.
    I was strong before; but now I am even stronger.
  4. (ironic) Signalling a correction of one's previous utterance. Rather.
    My favorite actor is Jack Nicklaus. Jack Nicholson, even.
Usage notes[edit]

See Talk:even#Usage note on Etymology 2

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Schaffner, Stefan (2000). “Altindisch amnás, urgermanisch *eƀna-, kelt. *eμno-.” In: Indoarisch, Iranisch und die Indogermanistik. Akten des Kolloquiums der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft vom 2. bis 5. Oktober 1997 in Erlangen, Forssman, Bernhard & Plath, Robert (eds.), Wiesbaden, pp. 491–505. In German.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English even, from Old English ǣfen, from Proto-Germanic *ēbanþs. Cognate with Dutch avond, Low German Avend, German Abend, Danish aften. See also the related terms eve and evening.


even ‎(plural evens)

  1. (archaic or poetic) Evening.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew ch. 8:
      When the even was come they brought unto him many that were possessed with devylles [...].
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]





From Middle Dutch even, effen, from Old Dutch *evan, from Proto-Germanic *ebnaz. Compare Low German even, German eben, English even, Danish jævn.




  1. shortly, briefly
    Ik zal even voor u kijken.
    I shall have a look for you shortly.
  2. for a short period, for a while
    In de tweede helft van de 19e eeuw bloeide Vollenhove weer even op.[3] — In the second half of the 19th century, Vollenhove flourished again for a while.
  3. for a moment; modal particle indicating that the speaker expects that something will require little time or effort.
    Zou je even de deur voor me dicht willen doen?
    Could you please close the door for me (for a moment)?
  4. just as, to the same degree (used with an adjective)
    In het midden van de vloer stond een tafel van wel vier meter hoog en een even grote stoel er bij.
    In the middle of the floor there stood a four-metre tall table and a chair just as large beside it.
  5. (Netherlands) quite, rather
    Die is even kwaad!
    He's rather angry!



even ‎(not comparable)

  1. even, opposite of odd


Inflection of even
uninflected even
inflected even
predicative/adverbial even
indefinite m./f. sing. even
n. sing. even
plural even
definite even
partitive evens


Derived terms[edit]