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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Synonyms for calculate


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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 There are long discussions on how exactly to calculate the cost of charging a Model 3. Brooke Crothers, Forbes, 22 May 2021 The lawsuits are based on a 2016 federal appeals court ruling against the city of San Gabriel that created a new interpretation of how employers should calculate overtime pay for workers. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Oct. 2020 Still, Thomas Darnell, 48, of West Point, Mississippi, is worried about how the government will calculate the additional unemployment benefits in the future. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, 2 Aug. 2020 McGillivray spoke with House Beautiful about all things vacation rentals— from how to calculate your rate to how to enhance your rental both online and in person, as well as his advice on navigating the industry during a pandemic. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, 25 July 2020 For most people, the process should run smoothly: The IRS will calculate benefits based on 2019 or 2020 returns and directly deposit the money, mail a check, or send a debit card loaded with the funds., 8 July 2021 Teachers currently instruct students on the formula for area and how to calculate it. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, 1 July 2021 Scientists calculate that by 2100, over 400 million people could live in low-lying, at-risk areas—and that's a conservative estimate. Matt Simon, Wired, 29 June 2021 But experts say the significant financial losses in terms of broadcasting and sponsorship would be very hard to calculate—not to mention the intangible costs to the Olympics’ reputation and the athletes' careers. Pam Moore, SELF, 28 June 2021

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

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calculate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on calculate

Nglish: Translation of calculate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of calculate for Arabic Speakers


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