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

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 The watch uses one of the brand’s elite mechanical movements, the caliber 1120 QP, the same one that drives men’s tourbillons in the Overseas and Patrimony collections. Carol Besler, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Portland’s injury report for the final game of the first half against Miami included eight players, four of them starting caliber. oregonlive, 17 June 2022 With a hitter of Stephenson’s caliber behind Votto, opposing pitchers have thrown more strikes to Votto to prevent putting another runner on base for Stephenson. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 11 June 2022 However, that highest caliber has only been bestowed on 13 restaurants in the US: six in California, five in New York and one each in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 10 June 2022 After the call, Haynes and Briscoe met with the inmate’s brother, who gave Haynes a .45 caliber firearm. Ngan Ho, Baltimore Sun, 10 June 2022 While investigating Monday, detectives found a small-caliber projectile was lodged into pipe insulation at Maloney, according to a release from the Meriden Police Department. Mike Mavredakis, Hartford Courant, 9 June 2022 The man currently being sought is believed to have fired a .40 caliber weapon that killed 24-year-old Alexis Quinn, who police believe was one of two innocent bystanders killed in the shooting. Fox News, 9 June 2022 Rapid fire from the large-caliber guns on armored personnel carriers, sounding like a jackhammer at work, echoed around the area. New York Times, 9 June 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of caliber was in 1588

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Dictionary Entries Near caliber



caliber compass

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Statistics for caliber

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Caliber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for caliber


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

More from Merriam-Webster on caliber

Nglish: Translation of caliber for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caliber for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about caliber


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