calculus

noun
cal·​cu·​lus | \ ˈkal-kyə-ləs How to pronounce calculus (audio) \
plural calculi\ ˈkal-​kyə-​ˌlī How to pronounce calculus (audio) , -​ˌlē \ also calculuses

Definition of calculus

1a : a method of computation or calculation in a special notation (as of logic or symbolic logic)
b : the mathematical methods comprising differential and integral calculus often used with the
2 : calculation … even political conservatives agree that an economic calculus must give way to a strategic consciousness when national or global security is at stake.— Stephen H. Schneider
3a : a concretion usually of mineral salts around organic material found especially in hollow organs or ducts
4 : a system or arrangement of intricate or interrelated parts

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Did you know?

In Latin calculus meant “pebble.” Because the Romans used pebbles to do addition and subtraction on a counting board, the word became associated with computation. Other English derivatives include calculator and calculation. Calculus itself has been borrowed into English as a medical term that refers to masses of matter in the body such as kidney stones (a straightforward extension of the meaning “pebble”) and to refer to a system of mathematical computation.

Examples of calculus in a Sentence

by my calculus the more efficient air conditioner will have paid for itself within a span of five years
Recent Examples on the Web The risk-benefit calculus is different in, say, West Virginia, the home state of Joe Manchin. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021 The former president treated CBP monthly enforcement data as a stock index for his Homeland Security team’s performance, and the calculus was simple: Higher border enforcement numbers were bad; lower numbers were good. BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2021 The calculus this time may be slightly different, my colleague Steve Hendrix reported, as both Hamas’s leadership and Netanyahu have extracted immediate strategic benefit from the fighting. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 Dan Metzger, a senior at Nazareth Academy who took four AP tests in physics, statistics, English literature and calculus AB this May, said being able to come to class for in person review is helpful. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, 25 May 2021 Dozens of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were caught cheating on an online calculus exam last year, sharing answers with each other from home. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, 12 May 2021 Chase Clark, 18, is a freshman at the University of Maryland and skipped his English 101 and calculus class to be at the event. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, 29 Apr. 2021 One day last week, Malo Lotus was working on calculus homework. Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2021 The cadets were accused of cheating on an online calculus exam in May while students were studying remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Hill, Star Tribune, 16 Apr. 2021

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

1666, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for calculus

Latin, stone (used in reckoning)

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Learn More About calculus

Time Traveler for calculus

Time Traveler

The first known use of calculus was in 1666

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Statistics for calculus

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calculus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calculus. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for calculus

calculus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of calculus

: an advanced branch of mathematics that deals mostly with rates of change and with finding lengths, areas, and volumes

calculus

noun
cal·​cu·​lus | \ ˈkal-kyə-ləs How to pronounce calculus (audio) \

Kids Definition of calculus

: a branch of mathematics that deals mostly with rates of change and with finding lengths, areas, and volumes

calculus

noun
cal·​cu·​lus | \ -ləs How to pronounce calculus (audio) \
plural calculi\ -​ˌlī, -​ˌlē How to pronounce calculus (audio) \ also calculuses

Medical Definition of calculus

1 : a concretion usually of mineral salts around organic material found especially in hollow organs or ducts
2 : a concretion on teeth : tartar

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