Equity Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use it

Wondering what equity means? We can help. Read on to discover the meaning of equity, how to use this term in a sentence, and more.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Like many words in the English language, the term equity has multiple meanings and can be used in a number of ways. In this guide, we will explore the definitions of equity, including its synonyms, antonyms, and more. 

By the end of this post, you should have a clear understanding of what the term equity means and feel comfortable using it in your everyday vocabulary. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!  

What Does Equity Mean?

As mentioned above, equity has more than one definition:

  • Equity can be defined as fairness or justice in the way people are treated. 
  • Equity can also refer to the value of a piece of property after any debts that remain to be paid have been subtracted.  
  • In addition, the Cambridge Dictionary defines equity as the value of a company, divided into many equal parts (or shares) owned by the shareholders, or one of the equal parts into which the value of a company is divided. 

What Does Equity Mean in Education?

In education, the term equity refers to the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, the two terms have separate meanings:

  • Equity recognizes that each individual has unique circumstances and needs. Therefore, different groups of individuals require unique resources and opportunities allocated to them in order to thrive. 
  • Equality, on the other hand, refers to handing out the exact same resources across the board, regardless of a person’s actual needs or opportunities already provided to them. 

As it relates to racial and social justice, equity means meeting communities where they are and allocating resources and opportunities as needed to create equal outcomes for all community members. Inequalities occur when biased or unfair policies, programs, practices, or situations contribute to a lack of equality in educational performance, results, and outcomes.  

Inequality may enter public education in a number of ways, such as:

  • Societal inequity
  • Cultural inequity
  • Socioeconomic inequity
  • Familial inequity
  • Staffing inequity
  • Programmatic inequity
  • Linguistic inequity

What Is the Origin of Equity?

The word equity —which gained traction in the English language during the 1300s — derives from Old French équité. Équité comes from the Latin aequitās meaning “equality,” and the Latin root aequus, which means “fair,” “even,” or “equal.” In Anglo-French, it means “rightness” or “justice.”  

The term equity’s original definition is strongly linked to the idea of fairness — but there’s also a legal history behind the word that comes about in 15th century England, where there were separate courts of equity and courts of law. 

Following England’s lead in the U.S., some states created chancery courts that deal only with equitable relief. In others, the courts of common law were empowered to exercise equity jurisdiction. 

Today, however, separate courts of chancery have mostly been abolished, as the same court that may fashion a legal resolution has the power to prescribe an equitable one. 

What Are the Synonyms of Equity?

To help further your understanding of the term equity, we’ve put together a list of synonyms, which are simply words that mean exactly or nearly the same as equity. Synonyms can help enrich your vocabulary and enhance your writing. 

Synonyms for equity:

  • Fairness
  • Disinterest
  • Detachment
  • Fair-mindedness
  • Impartiality
  • Justice
  • Neutral
  • Objectiveness
  • Nonpartisanship 
  • Equality
  • Evenhandedness
  • Ownership
  • Property

While the words listed below don’t have the exact same meaning as equity, they are commonly associated with the term:

  • Investors
  • Dividends
  • Stockholders
  • Net worth
  • Share capital
  • Margin account
  • Balance sheet
  • Stockholders’ equity
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Retained earnings
  • Discount
  • Valuation

What Are Antonyms for Equity?

In addition to discovering the synonyms, learning words that have the opposite meaning — or antonyms — of the term equity can help strengthen your vocabulary as well:

  • Bias
  • Favor
  • Favoritism
  • Partiality
  • Partisanship
  • Prejudice
  • One-sidedness
  • Wrong
  • Inequity
  • Imbalance
  • Unfairness
  • Unjustness
  • Discrimination

Examples of Equity Used in a Sentence

By now, you should have a good understanding of what equity means. It’s time to practice using it as a part of your vocabulary. To help, we’ve put together a list of example sentences using the word equity below:

“We should always be governed by the principle of equity!”

“We’ve been building up equity in our house over the years.”

“Did you know that equity in a partnership is called owner’s equity or capital?”

“With this final payment, we own all of the equity in our house.”

“In accounting, the owner’s equity is equal to the value of the assets once the liabilities have been subtracted.”

“Our equity increases as the value of our land increases.” 

“The rules of equity and common law are both, in essence, systems of private law.”

“She is on a mission to raise the company’s return on equity to 20%.”

“Bob sold his equity in the company two years ago.”

“The newlyweds shared the work of the condo with equity.”

“The equity in our cabin has decreased by four percent since 2015.”

“Barbara became very engaged in issues of educational equity, leading her to become an authority on school reform.”

“We recently got a home equity loan, or a second mortgage, to pay for Bill’s college.”

“Did you know that shareholder equity can represent the book value of a company?”

“When asked how much equity I have in my house, I said none.”


So, what does equity mean?

Equity can be defined as the calculated worth of a property after the money owned has been deducted. It can also refer to the pursuit of justice, usually in the context of social issues like gender or race. In addition, equity means a share in a company. 


  1. EQUITY | definition in the | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. Equity vs. Equality: What’s the Difference? | Marin HHS
  3. Equity Definition | ED Glossary
  4. Equity | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute