ac·​tu·​ary | \ ˈak-chə-ˌwer-ē How to pronounce actuary (audio) , -shə-, -ˌwe-rē-\
plural actuaries

Definition of actuary

1 obsolete : clerk, registrar
2 : a person who calculates insurance and annuity premiums, reserves, and dividends

Examples of actuary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The actuary completed the analysis several weeks after Bevin released his plan. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Supreme Court rules against Matt Bevin in pension open records case," 5 June 2019 While Social Security reserves are still projected to run dry in 2034, actuaries have extended the doomsday clock for the disability fund by 20 years to 2052. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Falling Disability Rolls," 28 Apr. 2019 Young and other Vanguard researchers partnered with actuaries at Mercer Health and Benefits consulting firm to create a proprietary model based on what retired people actually spend on health care. Liz Weston |,, "Here’s what health care really will cost you in retirement," 8 June 2019 But after his cornflakes, Mitch encounters Ida (Mary Williamson), a local actuary, a lifelong citizen of a place where every available man has known you since first grade. Chris Jones,, "'Life on Paper' by Jackalope Theatre builds a very human story from the numbers," 5 June 2019 If stats are your things, actuaries crunch numbers to assess risks for businesses like insurance companies. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Going Back to School Is Worth It for These Interesting Careers," 30 May 2019 The number of Medicare beneficiaries is expected to surge to 87 million in 2040, from 60 million this year, according to Medicare actuaries. Robert Pear, New York Times, "Medicare’s Trust Fund Is Set to Run Out in 8 Years. Social Security, 16.," 5 June 2018 Each group crafts its own, often with the help of pet actuaries. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "As Veterinary Bills Add Up, More Pet Owners Opt for Insurance," 24 Aug. 2018 The fact sheet says that for the first time in a decade, this budget would fully fund the number of dollars requested by the actuary of the Teachers' Retirement System. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin's Kentucky budget proposal includes surprise on teacher pensions," 17 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'actuary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of actuary

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for actuary

borrowed from Latin āctuārius "shorthand writer, keeper of accounts," alteration (with -u- from the u-stem action noun āctus) of *āctārius, from āctum "public transaction, record" + -ārius -ary entry 1 — more at act entry 1

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Statistics for actuary

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for actuary

The first known use of actuary was in 1570

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Financial Definition of actuary

What It Is

An actuary is a person who evaluates the likelihood of certain events and creates plans to deal with those events.

How It Works

Actuaries must understand business, have good analytical skills, and be aware of how human behavior affects risk. In the insurance business, for example, actuaries use an issuer's costs to calculate premiums for policyholders. They also make estimates of damage after big events, such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Additionally, they may use medical records, geological information, or other data to predict things such as how long a customer will live or where the next big earthquake will occur. Comfort with statistics is key.

Actuarial work typically requires a bachelor's degree, and actuaries must also pass a series of exams to earn a professional designation through the Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries. It can take six to 10 years to pass all the tests. In 2010, the median pay for actuaries was $87,650 per year.

Why It Matters

Because actuaries manage risk, many work in the insurance industry, but many also work in private industry, as consultants, at accounting firms, in banks and in other organizations.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of actuary

: a person whose job is to tell insurance companies how much they should charge people for insurance based on risks


ac·​tu·​ary | \ ˈak-chə-ˌwer-ē, -shə- How to pronounce actuary (audio) \
plural actuaries

Legal Definition of actuary

: a person who calculates insurance and annuity premiums, reserves, and dividends

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More from Merriam-Webster on actuary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with actuary

Spanish Central: Translation of actuary

Nglish: Translation of actuary for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about actuary

Comments on actuary

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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