ac·​tu·​ary | \ˈak-chə-ˌwer-ē, -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

Critics of the overhaul plan note that this estimate hasn’t been verified by actuaries. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, "New Jersey Lawmakers Try to Wrangle Pension Problem," 30 Aug. 2018 This revenue will be lower than previously expected while the cuts in individual tax rates are in effect through 2025, the actuaries said. Robert Pear, New York Times, "Medicare’s Trust Fund Is Set to Run Out in 8 Years. Social Security, 16.," 5 June 2018 The analysis comes from the Social Security actuaries, who showed in a study released last week that mortality rates among people 62 and older are inextricably linked to lifetime earnings. Michael Hiltzik,, "More evidence that raising the Social Security retirement age is no problem for the rich, but tough on the poor," 25 Apr. 2018 That means those estimates can get out-of-date, said Rick Foster, Medicare’s former chief actuary, or top number-cruncher. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, The Seattle Times, "Help Wanted: Overseers for Social Security and Medicare," 1 Oct. 2018 Spending on retail drugs grew only 1.3 percent in 2016, according to the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post, "The Health 202: Here's what to expect from Trump's speech on drug prices," 11 May 2018 Much like lawyers and accountants, actuaries have a professional duty to protect the public and to serve the greater good. Mary Williams Walsh,, "Jeremy Gold, 75, actuary who warned of pension crisis," 14 July 2018 The team had to field questions from actuaries, an exercise which forced them to think on their feet and apply their knowledge to a variety of scenarios. Erika Rose, Post-Tribune, "IU Northwest actuarial science students reach finals in international competition," 7 June 2018 James Lynch, chief actuary and vice president of research and education at the Insurance Information Institute, said part of the reason is that the cost of crashes has been rising — as much as 46 percent just because of personal injury claims. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, "Auto insurance rates have skyrocketed — and in ways that are wildly unfair," 7 Feb. 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

30 Nov 2018

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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- \
plural actuaries

Legal Definition of actuary 

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

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Spanish Central: Translation of actuary

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

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