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


cipher, compute, figure, reckon, work out

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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

The median tenure of CMOs, which Spencer Stuart also calculates to reduce the effects of outliers, was only 27.5 months last year, down from 31 months in 2017. Nat Ives, WSJ, "Average Tenure of CMO Slips to 43 Months," 6 June 2019 The Risk List might sound scary, but that simply means that ESA calculated a non-zero impact probability. Michelle Lou, CNN, "The asteroid supposedly the size of a football field that people are freaking out about? Don't sweat it," 6 June 2019 Interested customers can review Stoffer's comprehensive brochure, complete with her thoughtful election of finishes (four woods and 16 paints) and hardware, and calculate cost using the pricing guide. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "A New Company Making Custom, English-Style Kitchens Available a la Carte," 30 May 2019 As Money magazine calculated, the role's responsibilities make the person in it the White House’s de facto chief operations officer; the salary for a position like that hovers between $173,500 and $287,000 on average. Michelle Garcia, Glamour, "The First Lady Has a Huge Job. It’s Time She Had a Salary to Match," 3 Apr. 2019 In a July memo, however, Pete Gutwald, the planning and zoning director, calculated the project could only contain 106. Tim Prudente,, "Developer strikes agreement to scale back Eastport project," 7 July 2018 The program puts a lock on seller commissions, guaranteeing Redfin's 1-1.5% rate for seller's agents, then 2% of the bid is calculated and split, saving both parties money. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Redfin Now Offers Home Purchases Without An Agent," 9 May 2019 Free cash flow, previously calculated as operating cash flows less net cash, is now operating cash flow less lease payments and net cash, BP said Monday. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "CFOs Overhaul Performance Measures in Response to New Accounting Rules," 2 May 2019 Researchers based at the University of Vienna and the Space Research Institute of the ÖAW in Graz have calculated how quickly an M dwarf could lay waste to a rocky planet's atmosphere. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Why Aren't There More Habitable Planets? Blame Red Dwarfs," 25 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for calculate

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for calculate

The first known use of calculate was in 1542

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More Definitions for calculate



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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Comments on calculate

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