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 The company released a new caliber and housed it in three Excalibur models with different materials and color patterns. Anthony Demarco, Forbes, "Roger Dubuis Unveils The Excalibur Original And A New Art Collaboration," 7 Apr. 2021 The need for such aerial tank killers was learned the hard way during the Vietnam War when the only combat helicopters then available were little more than civilian models painted olive drab and fitted with a light-caliber machine gun. Sheldon M. Gallager, Popular Mechanics, "PM Meets the AH-64 Apache: The Helo That Fights Back," 25 Mar. 2021 But instead of sticking with the 6mm, a lonely caliber at the time, Winchester decided to squeeze in .224 bullets. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "The Fall of the .220 Swift," 12 Mar. 2021 Ohio State’s prior disappointments in landing elite running backs created an opening that a player of Pryor’s caliber couldn’t turn down. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Evan Pryor National Signing Day 2021 player profile: Ohio State football recruiting," 11 Dec. 2020 The challenge the Alabama offense presents is of a different caliber, but Auburn’s defensive line is ok with that. Giana Han, al, "Improved Auburn pass rush about to face biggest test of season in No. 1 Alabama team," 27 Nov. 2020 The move is an aggressive one by Neil Olshey, who routinely looks for deals to upgrade the roster but has very rarely pulled off convincing an opposing team to let go of a player of Covington’s caliber via trade. oregonlive, "Forward Robert Covington fills many areas of need for the Portland Trail Blazers: Analysis," 17 Nov. 2020 Plus, a Pro-Bowl-caliber running back in Joe Mixon. Tyler Dragon, The Enquirer, "Here's what to expect from the Bengals offense and defense," 11 Sep. 2020 Coach Brian Flores would love to get his hands on a player of Rousseau’s caliber to add some pass-rushing punch to his defense. C.j. Doon,, "2021 NFL mock draft: A way-too-early look at top prospects as season gets underway," 8 Sep. 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

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Caliber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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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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