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 The Northern California earthquake was initially calculated as magnitude 4.1 before it was downgraded to 3.9. Los Angeles Times, "Bay Area rattled by magnitude 3.9 earthquake near San Jose," 2 Jan. 2020 When the District 7 station was created, its response times were calculated separately from the District 4 data. Rachel Chason, Washington Post, "Higher police response times could delay home building in Prince George’s," 25 Dec. 2019 Fines are calculated on a point system, where each conviction can earn up to three points. USA TODAY, "Lego impeachment, emotional support coyote, mumbo sauce: News from around our 50 states," 21 Dec. 2019 These projections were calculated by using the the last AP poll before the bowl games for each season from 1970 through 2013, then the playoff selection committee rankings in 2014-19. Rich Exner, cleveland, "With a college football playoff in 1990s, Cooper years at Ohio State would look a lot better," 20 Dec. 2019 In the case of an artificially low bid, an alternative higher bid would be calculated and used in its stead. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "New federal rule will hurt renewables, help gas and coal," 20 Dec. 2019 The Tories’ new prospectus is calculated to take advantage of a long-term shift in voters’ behaviour which predates the Brexit referendum. The Economist, "Britain’s election Victory for Boris Johnson’s all-new Tories," 13 Dec. 2019 Pay, however, is calculated by county, based on population. Joseph Cranney, ProPublica, "We Investigated Magistrates. Now, Lawmakers Want to Overhaul the System.," 11 Dec. 2019 PNECs are calculated by both drug companies and academic scientists. Natasha Gilbert, STAT, "‘Dump it down the drain’: How contaminants from prescription-drug factories pollute waterways," 11 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for calculate

Time Traveler

The first known use of calculate was in 1542

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Statistics for calculate

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Calculate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 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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Comments on calculate

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


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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