All things being equal, parity means, basically, equality. It’s used in finance, physics, math, and even sports. When people talk about parity in a football league, for example, they mean the teams are evenly matched. Go, evenly matched team, go!

Parity comes from the same Latin root as pair, which is par, for “equal.” Parity is an equal amount of something, or an equal rank or skill level between people or teams. During the Cold War, the word parity was used to describe the equal amount of resources the US and the USSR had. So now it also means an equal amount between enemies, which is probably why sportscasters love it.

Definitions of parity
  1. noun
    functional equality
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    type of:
    essential equality and interchangeability
  2. noun
    (physics) parity is conserved in a universe in which the laws of physics are the same in a right-handed system of coordinates as in a left-handed system
    synonyms: conservation of parity, mirror symmetry, space-reflection symmetry
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    type of:
    (physics) the maintenance of a certain quantities unchanged during chemical reactions or physical transformations
  3. noun
    (mathematics) a relation between a pair of integers: if both integers are odd or both are even they have the same parity; if one is odd and the other is even they have different parity
    parity is often used to check the integrity of transmitted data”
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    the parity of even numbers (divisible by two)
    the parity of odd numbers (not divisible by two)
    type of:
    mathematical relation
    a relation between mathematical expressions (such as equality or inequality)
  4. noun
    (computer science) a bit that is used in an error detection procedure in which a 0 or 1 is added to each group of bits so that it will have either an odd number of 1's or an even number of 1's; e.g., if the parity is odd then any group of bits that arrives with an even number of 1's must contain an error
    synonyms: check bit, parity bit
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    type of:
    a unit of measurement of information (from binary + digit); the amount of information in a system having two equiprobable states
  5. noun
    (obstetrics) the number of liveborn children a woman has delivered
    “the parity of the mother must be considered”
    synonyms: para
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    type of:
    gestation, maternity, pregnancy
    the state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus
Commonly confused words

parody / parity

They're different, but when these words are said out loud it's hard to tell them apart. A parody is a silly spoof and parity is equality, and that's no joke.

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Word Family

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