Is there a difference in meaning between 匹敵 and 互角?

Besides that one is a suru verb and the other a noun/adjective

1 Answer 1


When you say AとBは互角だ, A and B are treated equally. AとBは互角だ and BとAは互角だ are semantically the same sentence. In addition, 互角 is used only in the context of competition; the speaker is always interested in which is the stronger/superior one.

On the other hand, AはBに匹敵する means A is comparable or competitive with B. The focus of this sentence is on A, and B's strength/value is taken for granted. Thus, AはBに匹敵する and BはAに匹敵する are not the same. Besides, 匹敵 has a broader usage outside the context of competition. For example, デジタル大辞泉 lists 演歌に匹敵する外国の音楽 "foreign music (genre) comparable to enka" as an example of 匹敵する. This means that enka and something are similar, but it doesn't mean the speaker wants to decide which genre is superior.

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