cal·​cu·​late | \ ˈkal-kyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce calculate (audio) \
calculated; calculating

Definition of calculate

transitive verb

1a : 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
2 : to design or adapt for a purpose he carefully calculated the timing of his arrival for maximum impact
3a : to judge to be true or probable
b : intend I calculate to do it or perish in the attempt— Mark Twain

intransitive verb

1a : to make a calculation
b : to forecast consequences
2 : count, rely

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Examples of calculate in a Sentence

calculate the volume of a cylinder I need to calculate how long it will take me to drive to Chicago. We calculated the cost of new carpeting for the whole house. We need to calculate our chances of success before we invest more money in the business.
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Recent Examples on the Web In the video, Walkington explains how to calculate the number of rubber bands needed to give Barbie the biggest bungee jump without hitting the floor. Dallas News, "COVID-19 pushes parents online for STEM resources," 23 June 2020 The new policy, announced in late June, would require districts to calculate the private school's total enrollment, rather than just those students in poverty. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin schools to see more than $200 million in COVID-19 relief fund," 11 July 2020 But Abbott in May still asked most state agencies to calculate 5 percent reductions in their budgets, a sign that even localities in a strong fiscal position may suffer if the downturn proves protracted. Washington Post, "Texas sees sharp decline in tax revenue as coronavirus surge unleashes more budget uncertainty," 7 July 2020 With that information, Meyer-Rochow and his co-author, Jozsef Gal of Loránd Eötvös University in Hungary, were able to calculate the force that would be required to propel the poop 30-40 centimeters. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The explosive physics of pooping penguins: they can shoot poo over four feet," 4 July 2020 The model also uses current tidal, storm surge, rainfall and river-line flooding data to calculate risk for individual homes and small businesses. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "15 million U.S. homes are at risk of flooding — 70% higher than FEMA estimates," 29 June 2020 That may be, critics say, because Brexiters calculate the cost of leaving without a deal will be obscured by the far more extensive damage wreaked by the virus. Jill Ward,, "No-Deal Brexit Threat Looms Over Pandemic-Ravaged U.K.," 1 June 2020 Those signals are captured by GPS receivers in everything from jet fighter cockpits to smart phones and the family car, providing the data necessary to calculate the user's position, altitude and velocity. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX launches GPS navigation satellite for U.S. Space Force," 30 June 2020 Currently, the state relies on physical attendance to calculate enrollment and school funding, meaning staggered attendance or distance learning measures implemented to protect students and teachers would hurt schools' bottom lines. Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic, "Ducey unveils aid package to help keep Arizona's K-12 schools afloat during pandemic," 25 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calculate.' 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 calculate

1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for calculate

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

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Time Traveler for calculate

Time Traveler

The first known use of calculate was in 1542

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Statistics for calculate

Last Updated

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Calculate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for calculate


How to pronounce calculate (audio)

English Language Learners 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)


cal·​cu·​late | \ ˈkal-kyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce calculate (audio) \
calculated; calculating

Kids Definition of calculate

1 : to find by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing : compute calculate an average
2 : estimate entry 1 She calculated the risk.
3 : to plan by careful thought : intend Her remark was calculated to shock her listeners.

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