On Par: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 30, 2023

The phrase "on par" means "at the same level or standard as something else." It is often used to compare the quality of two things, such as two pieces of work or two athletes. It can also be used more broadly to mean "average" or "mediocre." For example, you might say that a movie was "on par" with other movies in its genre, meaning that it was neither particularly good nor bad.

In short:

  • It refers to the state of being equal in terms of value or quality.
  • It signifies balance, equality, or a state where two or more things can be compared favorably.

What Does "On Par" Mean?

The phrase conveys a state of equality or comparison. When we say something is "on par" with something else, it signifies that they are on the same level, have the same importance, or share a similar standard or value.

Let's dig deeper into its key interpretations and usage:

  • It means equal or similar to something else in quality, amount, or value.
  • Use it when comparing two or more things to say they are at the same level.
  • It often refers to a standard or norm that things are measured against. If something meets the standard, it is considered on par.
  • You can use it in a sentence like: "Your painting is a bit rough around the edges, but it is on par with your previous works." This conveys that the painting matches the quality of the artist's earlier pieces, even with its minor imperfections.
  • Synonyms for "on par" include "on equality with," "equivalent to," and "comparable."

Where Does "On Par" Come From?

The phrase "on par" originates from the sport of golf, where "par" is the predetermined number of strokes an expert golfer must need to complete a hole, a round, or a tournament. The term "par" itself comes from the Latin "par," meaning "equal." If a golfer is said to be "on par," they are performing up to the expected standard. In a broader context, "on par" is used to indicate that something is equal to or at the same level as something else.

Historical Example

"Margosol 1 .0 per cent was found to be effective, recording 77.46, 87.70, and 75.24 per cent protection over control against first, second, and fourth instar larvae respectively, which was on par with other neem products."

- Neem and Environment, 1996

10 Examples of "On Par" in Sentences

To provide a clearer understanding of the usage of the phrase, let's explore some examples from a variety of contexts:

  • The new smartphones are on par with professional cameras in terms of photo quality.
  • I'm rooting for you to achieve your goals. You are on par with the best in your field.
  • The education system in this country is on par with the best in the world.
  • Despite the new restaurant's smaller size, its cuisine is on par with the city's top-rated eateries.
  • Keep up the good work. You are on par with the highest standards of excellence.
  • "I believe in you," Martha said, "your abilities are on par with everyone else in this competition."
  • The technology used in this electric car is on par with that of leading automotive manufacturers.
  • Until next time, I hope you keep your performance on par with your expectations.
  • To each his own. I respect your choices, even if they are not on par with mine.
  • Suzy's outfit looks good. It is on par with the latest fashion trends.

Examples of "On Par" in Pop Culture

The phrase commonly appears in pop culture, usually indicating equality or comparison in terms of quality, performance, or standard.

Let's explore some instances:

  • The phrase is used in the movie "Man on Fire (2004)" where Denzel Washington's character, John W. Creasy, says, "Coordination, reaction time. Top professionals try to kidnap your daughter. I'll do the best I can, but the service will be on par with the pay."
  • Jean-Luc Godard, a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter, and film critic, is quoted saying, "[in Paris, 10/18/66] Until I am paid on par with Henri-Georges Clouzot, Federico Fellini, and René Clément, I cannot consider myself to be a success."
  • The phrase appears in the article "NFL Power Rankings: The Top 60 Wide Receivers Of All Time" on Bleacher Report, stating, "his stats would be on par with guys in the top 10 of this list."
  • It is also used in the article "Pentaho and Jaspersoft: Good Alternates to Bigger-Name Software" on Dice, stating, "Though few packages are on par with Twitter's $10 million engineer Christopher Fry, pay is on the upswing for IT occupations."

Other/Different Ways to Say "On Par"

There are several other expressions that carry a similar meaning to "on par."

Here are a few:

  • Equivalent to
  • Equal to
  • Matching
  • In line with
  • Comparable to
  • On a level with
  • Of the same standard
  • As good as
  • On an equal footing
  • Just as capable

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "On Par":

  • What does "on par" mean?

The phrase "on par" means being equal to someone or something in terms of quality, standard, or value. It is often used in comparisons.

  • How can I use "on par" in a sentence?

You can use the idiom in a sentence to denote equality or a comparable standard. For example, "Rest assured that your project is on par with the requirements. You have nothing to worry about."

  • Where does the phrase originate from?

It has its origins in golf, referring to a score even with the course's par or number of strokes expected to complete a hole. This athletic context is where it gained the connotation of meeting a standard.

  • Is it okay to use it outside of sporting contexts?

Yes, "on par" can be used in a variety of contexts, not just sports. It can refer to academic performance, business metrics, or even the quality of a product or service.

  • Can "on par" refer to a lesser standard?

No, it typically suggests equality or a high standard. It does not imply being lesser or inferior.

  • Does it only compare two things?

Not necessarily. While "on par" is often used to compare two things, it can also be used to compare multiple things or even a group to a standard.

  • Is it applicable in formal or informal contexts?

You can use the phrase in both formal and informal contexts. It is common in business and academic writing, but also appears in casual conversations.

  • Does it have a negative connotation?

Yes, "on par" can be used in negative contexts. For example, "The poor service at the restaurant was on par with my worst experiences."

  • Does "on par" have synonyms?

Yes, phrases such as "equivalent to", "equal to", "in line with", and "as good as" can be used as synonyms.

  • Is it part of everyday English?

Yes, the phrase "on par" is quite common in everyday English, often used to express equivalence or similarity in quality or standard.

Final Thoughts About "On Par"

"On par" is a phrase that captures the idea of equality or equivalence, especially in terms of quality, performance, or value. It emphasizes the importance of setting standards and making comparisons, which are key aspects of decision-making, evaluation, and improvement.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase means something is equal to or matches up to a certain standard. It's a handy tool when you want to compare things and decide how they measure up against each other.
  • This phrase actually started out in the golfing world. But you don't have to be a golfer to use it! It's now a popular saying in all sorts of situations, from school and work to just chatting with friends.
  • What's great about the idiom is that you can use it to make comparisons in a good or bad way. It's not just for saying something is as good as something else, but also for when something doesn't quite hit the mark.
  • Whether you're comparing smartphones, grading a performance at a concert, or even talking about your latest vacation, "on par" can help you express your thoughts in an interesting way!

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