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


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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 Landing a celebrity of Jenner's caliber would be a big get for any platform. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "TikTok accidentally verified a fake Kendall Jenner account," 6 Feb. 2020 Details from investigation Detectives recovered a 0.38 caliber shell casing and a cellphone from the scene and were also able to identify two vehicles leaving the scene on area surveillance video. Christopher Roth, azcentral, "Man arrested for murder tells police he shot his friend in Tempe last July," 4 Feb. 2020 Still, there aren't players of Juszczyk's caliber simply lying around. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Super Bowl 2020: 49ers' Kyle Juszczyk brings NFL fullbacks back from brink of extinction," 1 Feb. 2020 He had been shot in the chest and in the head with a small caliber weapon. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Mother, sister demand justice for Donald 'Donnie' Saylor Jr. who was found shot to death in Kentucky wildlife reserve in 1987," 1 Feb. 2020 The Super Bowl Halftime Show is a universal stage reserved for pop stars of the finest caliber. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "J.Lo and Shakira’s Super Bowl Show Won’t Fix the NFL," 30 Jan. 2020 Weighing in at more than 80 pounds, the M2 and its large caliber ammunition are a heavy cargo. Russ Read, Washington Examiner, "Special operations Marines to call for end of iconic machine gun: M2 'Ma Deuce' soon will be replaced," 21 Jan. 2020 Police found he’d been shot in the head, with several small-caliber bullet casings on the ground near his body. Jeff Truesdell,, "How the Death of a Cheerleader's Dad Unravelled Disturbing Family Secrets," 30 Dec. 2019 While Kearse isn’t nearly the same caliber of athlete as Jones, his size and strength prevent him from getting bullied at the catch point, one of the few areas where Jones has struggled when asked to cover tight ends. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 under-the-radar free agents the Cowboys should target, including a run-plugging, pocket-pushing nose tackle," 24 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for caliber

Time Traveler

The first known use of caliber was in 1588

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Statistics for caliber

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caliber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for caliber


How to pronounce caliber (audio)

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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