cal·​i·​ber | \ ˈka-lə-bər How to pronounce caliber (audio) , British also kə-ˈlē-\
variants: or calibre

Definition of caliber

1a : degree of mental capacity or moral quality teachers of high caliber
b : degree of excellence or importance the caliber of instruction
2a : the diameter of a bullet or other projectile
b : the diameter of a bore of a gun usually expressed in hundredths or thousandths of an inch and typically written as a decimal fraction .32 caliber
3 : the diameter of a round or cylindrical body especially : the internal diameter of a hollow cylinder

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Synonyms for caliber


class, grade, quality, rate

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Examples of caliber in a Sentence

I was impressed by the high caliber of the team's work. musicians of the highest caliber perform at that concert hall

Recent Examples on the Web

Those Big Red Machine Reds can make a particularly compelling case: Their lineup included three Hall-of-Famers in Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Pérez, plus another Hall-of-Fame caliber player in Pete Rose. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Boston Red Sox: Greatest Season of All Time?," 29 Oct. 2018 But without former veteran starter Charles Johnson, the Panthers need a starting-caliber player to rotate with veteran Julius Peppers opposite Mario Addison. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Intriguing Panthers, position by position, as team transitions from OTAs to camp," 15 June 2018 That's a mechanism that places a premium on the order in which teams make their selections as only a handful of true MLS-caliber players typically come through the draft. Patrick Brennan,, "Analysis: FC Cincinnati has much to gain by joining MLS in 2019 before Miami, Nashville," 12 May 2018 Going forward: Produced a resurgent All-NBA caliber season after signing a surprise extension just before the start of training camp. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "A look at what to expect this offseason from the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and others," 28 Apr. 2018 Law-enforcement officials named Long on Thursday as the man who killed 12 people with a .45 caliber pistol. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "California Bar Shooter Had Domestic-Disturbance History After Serving in Afghanistan," 8 Nov. 2018 Like with similar buybacks in 2013 and 2015, Saturday’s event brought in a wide array of weapons, including small-caliber pistols and antique rifles. Alex Nitkin,, "Dozens of guns taken by Evanston police at 'no questions asked' buyback event," 11 June 2018 Galveston County Jail The Houston Chronicle reported that the assailant was armed with a .38 caliber pistol, a shotgun and pipe bombs. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Suspected shooter identified: What we know about the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 18 May 2018 Police found a loaded .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol under the seat where Smith had been sitting, according to the release. Staff Report, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora man convicted on gun charge," 16 May 2018

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

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for caliber

borrowed from Middle French calibre "internal diameter of a cylindrical object, displacement of a gun," borrowed (by uncertain mediation) from Arabic qālab, qālib "mold for casting metal, shoemaker's last," borrowed from Greek kalapod-, kalápous, kalópous "shoemaker's last," from kâla (plural) "wood, timber" (of uncertain origin) + -a- (perhaps after tetrápous "four-footed") or -o- -o- + poús "foot" — more at foot entry 1

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Statistics for caliber

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for caliber

The first known use of caliber was in 1588

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More Definitions for caliber



English Language Learners Definition of caliber

: level of excellence, skill, etc.
: a measurement of the width of a bullet or a gun barrel


variants: or calibre \ ˈka-​lə-​bər \

Kids Definition of caliber

1 : level of excellence, skill, or importance She is a writer of the highest caliber.
2 : the diameter of a bullet or of the hole in the barrel of a gun


variants: or chiefly British calibre \ ˈkal-​ə-​bər, British also kə-​ˈlē-​ \

Medical Definition of caliber

: the diameter of a round or cylindrical body especially : the internal diameter of a hollow cylinder

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Comments on caliber

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


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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