Identical vs. Similar: What's the Difference?
Identical means being exactly alike, whereas similar implies having a resemblance or likeness without being identical.
Identical and similar are terms used to describe the degree of likeness between two or more objects. Identical implies that objects are exactly alike in every detail, having no discernible difference between them. On the other hand, similar means that while objects share certain qualities or characteristics, they are not exactly alike in every detail.
When addressing the concept of identical, it signifies a complete match in attributes, characteristics, and form, indicating an exact replication or match. Conversely, similar denotes a partial match, where some attributes or characteristics are alike, but there may exist differences, making the objects not a complete match.
For instance, identical twins are a prime example of the term identical, as they share the exact genetic makeup and appear indistinguishable. Similar, however, may describe siblings who share familial traits but possess distinct differences in appearance, personality, and other characteristics.
The term identical is absolute, denoting an exact match without any deviation, often used in contexts where precision is imperative. Similar is a relative term, representing a likeness or resemblance, suitable in contexts where exact matches are not critical, allowing for variations and discrepancies.
While identical emphasizes precision and exactness, reflecting a state of being indistinguishable, similar highlights resemblance and likeness, accepting the presence of differences and variations between the objects or concepts being compared.
Exactly alike in every detail
Having a resemblance or likeness
Absolute, no deviation
Relative, allows for variations
High precision is imperative
High precision is not critical
Used where exact match is critical
Used where resemblance is sufficient
Siblings are similar
Identical and Similar Definitions
Identical denotes an exact replication or match in every detail.
The documents were identical, containing the same information word for word.
Similar means having a likeness or resemblance without being exactly alike.
The two designs are similar, sharing common features but differing in some aspects.
Identical implies being indistinguishable due to the presence of exact attributes and characteristics.
The two paintings were identical, making it impossible to distinguish the original from the replica.
Similar conveys the notion of partial matching in attributes or characteristics.
The two products have similar functionalities but differ in their user interfaces.
Being the same
Another orator who used the senator's identical words.
Similar denotes having a resemblance or comparable qualities without being a complete match.
The two novels are similar, featuring parallel themes but different narrative styles.
Exactly equal and alike
Your car is identical to mine. Are the fingerprints at the crime scene identical with those of the accused?.
Having a resemblance in appearance or nature; alike though not identical.
(Biology) Of or relating to a twin or twins developed from the same fertilized ovum and having the same genetic makeup and closely similar appearance; monozygotic.
(Mathematics) Having corresponding angles equal and corresponding line segments proportional. Used of geometric figures
(not comparable) Bearing full likeness by having precisely the same set of characteristics; indistinguishable.
Having traits or characteristics in common; alike, comparable.
My new car is similar to my old one, except it has a bit more space in the back.
(not comparable) Not different or other; not another or others; not different as regards self; selfsame; numerically identical.
(mathematics) Of geometrical figures including triangles, squares, ellipses, arcs and more complex figures, having the same shape but possibly different size, rotational orientation, and position; in particular, having corresponding angles equal and corresponding line segments proportional; such that one can be had from the other using a sequence of rotations, translations and scalings.
Of twins, sharing the same genetic code.
Of two square matrices; being such that a conjugation sends one matrix to the other.
That which is similar to, or resembles, something else, as in quality, form, etc.
Approximating or approaching exact equivalence.
(homeopathy) A material that produces an effect that resembles the symptoms of a particular disease.
Something which has exactly the same properties as something else.
Exactly corresponding; resembling in all respects; precisely like.
An identical twin.
Nearly corresponding; resembling in many respects; somewhat like; having a general likeness.
The same; the selfsame; the very same; not different; as, the identical person or thing.
I can not remember a thing that happened a year ago, without a conviction . . . that I, the same identical person who now remember that event, did then exist.
Uttering sameness or the same truth; expressing in the predicate what is given, or obviously implied, in the subject; tautological.
When you say body is solid, I say that you make an identical proposition, because it is impossible to have the idea of body without that of solidity.
That which is similar to, or resembles, something else, as in quality, form, etc.
Exactly alike; incapable of being perceived as different;
Rows of identical houses
Cars identical except for their license plates
They wore indistinguishable hats
Marked by correspondence or resemblance;
Similar food at similar prices
Problems similar to mine
They wore similar coats
Being the exact same one; not any other:;
This is the identical room we stayed in before
The themes of his stories are one and the same
Saw the selfsame quotation in two newspapers
On this very spot
The very thing he said yesterday
The very man I want to see
Having the same or similar characteristics;
All politicians are alike
They looked utterly alike
Friends are generaly alike in background and taste
(of twins) derived from a single egg or ovum;
Identical twins are monovular
Resembling or similar; having the same or some of the same characteristics; often used in combination;
Suits of like design
A limited circle of like minds
Members of the cat family have like dispositions
As like as two peas in a pod
A dreamlike quality
Having properties with uniform values along all axes
(of words) expressing closely related meanings
Coinciding exactly when superimposed;
Capable of replacing or changing places with something else;
Identical means exactly alike without any differences.
The two products are identical, with the same features and specifications.
Similar implies sharing certain qualities or characteristics with differences.
The siblings have similar appearances but distinct personalities.
Identical is used to convey complete similarity without any deviation.
The two houses were built to be identical, sharing the same design and materials.
Similar reflects a state of likeness or analogy between objects or concepts.
The solutions provided were similar, addressing the issue with comparable approaches.
Identical signifies the state of being exactly the same in every aspect.
The test results were identical, confirming the initial diagnosis.
Can identical objects have any differences?
No, identical objects are exactly alike and have no differences.
How is similar different from identical?
Similar implies having a likeness or resemblance with differences, while identical means being exactly alike with no differences.
Can similar objects have distinct differences?
Yes, similar objects can have distinct differences but share certain likenesses or resemblances.
What does identical mean?
Identical means being exactly alike in every detail, with no discernible differences.
Can identical be used to describe similarities?
Identical specifically describes things that are exactly alike, not just similar.
Is it correct to use identical to describe things that look alike?
Identical should be used when things are exactly alike in every detail, not just in appearance.
Is similar a relative term?
Yes, similar is relative and denotes a degree of likeness or resemblance, allowing for variations.
Is identical an absolute term?
Yes, identical is an absolute term indicating exact likeness without deviation.
Can similar be used to describe things that share minor resemblances?
Yes, similar can be used to describe things that share minor or major resemblances, allowing for differences.
Can similar denote a high degree of resemblance?
Yes, similar can denote varying degrees of resemblance, from high to low.
In what contexts is similar commonly used?
Similar is used in contexts where objects share common attributes but aren’t exactly alike, such as comparing features, appearances, or concepts.
Are identical twins exactly the same in every aspect?
While identical twins share the same genetic makeup, they can have differences in personality, preferences, and experiences.
When is it appropriate to use similar instead of identical?
Similar should be used when objects have a likeness or resemblance with some differences, while identical is appropriate for objects with no differences.
Can identical and similar be used interchangeably?
No, they shouldn’t be used interchangeably as identical denotes exact likeness, while similar allows for variations and differences.
Is there a degree of similarity in identical objects?
No, identical objects are exactly alike, with no degree of similarity as there are no differences.
Written bySawaira Riaz
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