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 Avoid the petty differences and calculate a response based on the actual decision. Teddy Mcdarrah, Forbes, 31 May 2021 After García stole a home run and threw a runner out at home Thursday, his WAR (Wins Above Replacement) metric rose to 2.9, according to Baseball-Reference, one of the two sites that calculate the figure. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 29 May 2021 Federal probation officers work for U.S. district courts and advise judges on how to calculate sentences. Dave Michaels, WSJ, 25 May 2021 The Epic lawyer challenged that claim, showing Mr. Cook internal Apple documents that suggested the company could calculate the App Store’s profitability. New York Times, 21 May 2021 Global minimum tax: The proposal would increase the minimum tax on US corporations to 21% and calculate it on a country-by-country basis to deter companies from sheltering profits in international tax havens. Kate Sullivan, CNN, 21 May 2021 Many agencies have citizens fill out online forms for various purposes and calculate such levies as property taxes without requiring them to perform their own calculations. Eric Zorn,, 13 May 2021 Pitcher also says there are constitutional problems with Utah’s former practice of assigning dollar amounts to different crimes so that officials can calculate the bail total for arrestees based on their charges. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2021 The Treasury Department said states can calculate the shortfall by comparing it to the pre-pandemic trend. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 10 May 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

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calculate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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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