Printable Version
Pronunciation: e-kwê-ti Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Fairness, justice, nondiscriminatory treatment, as 'all I ask is equity'. 2. A share in a company's stock, as 'to own equity in a company'. 3. A trade union to which most professional actors belong or union pay level, as 'to receive equity pay'. 4. A system of jurisprudence that provides fair remedies where none exist in the law. 5. The value of something less the indebtedness, as 'equity in a house'.

Notes: equityI came across the picture shown here on someone's Facebook pages that I thought perfectly demonstrated the difference between equality and equity. It led me to look up the story of equity. This is what I found. Equity comes with an adjective, equitable, as 'an equitable review system.'

In Play: Remember from the picture above that equity is not the same as equality: "The union was successful in negotiating pay equity for its members." The meanings may overlap. 'Equal pay for the same work' would be equity: "When I sell my house I need to get paid for the 'sweat equity' I've put into it". ('Sweat equity' is the value of your labor contributed to improving or restoring a property.)

Word History: Today's Good Word is another snitched from Old French, this time equite, inherited from Latin aequitas "equality, fairness, kindness", from aequus "even, just, fair". No one knows where aequus came from. We do know that it also went into the making of aequalis "uniform, identical, equal", whence French egal "equal", German egal "the same, smooth", and English equal. So these words probably come from a Proto-Indo-European word that had one meaning, but the meaning bifurcated before or in Latin.

Dr. Goodword,

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