• Dictionary
• Thesaurus
• Scrabble
• Spanish Central
• Learner's Dictionary

calculate

play
verb cal·cu·late \ˈkal-kyə-ˌlāt\

Simple Definition of calculate

• : to find (a number, answer, etc.) by using mathematical processes

• : to get a general idea about the value, size, or cost of (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

calculating

1. transitive verb
2. 1 a :  to determine by mathematical processes <calculate the rate of acceleration> b :  to reckon by exercise of practical judgment :  estimate <calculate the likelihood of success> c :  to solve or probe the meaning of :  figure out <trying to calculate his expression — Hugh MacLennan>

3. 2 :  to design or adapt for a purpose <he carefully calculated the timing of his arrival for maximum impact>

4. 3 a :  to judge to be true or probable b :  intend <I calculate to do it or perish in the attempt — Mark Twain>

5. intransitive verb
6. 1 a :  to make a calculation b :  to forecast consequences

7. 2

Examples of calculate in a sentence

1. calculate the volume of a cylinder

2. I need to calculate how long it will take me to drive to Chicago.

3. We calculated the cost of new carpeting for the whole house.

4. We need to calculate our chances of success before we invest more money in the business.

Origin and Etymology of calculate

Latin calculatus, past participle of calculare, from calculus pebble (used in reckoning), perhaps irregular diminutive of calc-, calx lime — more at chalk

First Known Use: 1570

calculate

play
verb cal·cu·late \ˈkal-kyə-ˌlāt\

calculating

1. 1 :  to find by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing :  compute <calculate an average>

2. 2 :  1estimate <She calculated the risk.>

3. 3 :  to plan by careful thought :  intend <Her remark was calculated to shock her listeners.>

History for calculate

In Latin the word calculus meant “pebble.” Because the Romans used pebbles to do addition and subtraction on a counting board, the word became associated with computation, and the phrase ponere calculos, literally, “to place pebbles,” was used to mean “to carry out a computation.” Latin words coming from calculus include calculator, “person able to do arithmetic,” and calculare, “to reckon,” from which we get the word calculate.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up calculate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

woebegone

play

looking or feeling very sad

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Which is a synonym of asperse?

defame beat placate divulge

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Words at Play

You're welcome

'Venom' and the Goddess of Love

Who knew 'venom' could be so lovely?

Dabbing

New uses of an old word

Is It 'Autumn' or 'Fall'?

Why does this season have two different names?

How to Use the Subjunctive in English

If I were you, I'd watch this

How Often Is 'Biweekly'?

Don't get us started on 'bimonthly'

Irregardless

It is in fact a real word (but that doesn't mean you should use it).

Weird Plurals

One goose, two geese. One moose, two... moose. What's up with that?

Word Games

September Words of the Day Quiz

Test your knowledge of September Words of the Day.

Take the quiz
Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

Can you spell these 15 tricky spelling words?

Take the quiz
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Take the quiz
SCRABBLE® Sprint

SCRABBLE® fans, sharpen your skills!

Play the game