1. The act of comparing; the act of considering the relation between persons or things, with a view to discover their agreement or resemblance, or their disagreement or difference.
We learn to form a correct estimate of men and their actions by comparison.
2. The state of being compared.
If we rightly estimate what we call good and evil, we shall find it lies much in comparison.
3. Comparative estimate; proportion.
Who is left among you that saw this house in its first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Hag. 2.
4. In grammar, the formation of an adjective in its several degrees of signification; as strong, stronger, strongest; greenish, green, greener, greenest; glorious, more glorious, most glorious. In English, there are strictly four degrees of comparison.
5. A simile, similitude, or illustration by similitude.
Whereto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it? Mark 4.
6. In rhetoric, a figure by which two things are considered with regard to a third, which is common to them both; as, a hero is like a lion in courage. Here courage is common to hero and lion, and constitutes the point of resemblance.
The distinction between similitude and comparison is, that the former has reference to the quality; the latter, to the quantity. Comparison is between more and less; similitude is between good and gad. Hannibal--hung like a tempest on the declivities of the Alps--is a likeness by similitude. The sublimity of the scriptural prophets exceeds that of Homer, as much as thunder is louder than a whisper--is a likeness by comparison.
But comparison has reference to quality as well as quantity.