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 Pepper-spray balls are typically the same caliber as recreational paintballs. USA Today, "'Less lethal' can still maim and kill: A visual guide to weapons police use on protesters," 20 June 2020 Twitter account that the match was about building toward becoming a championship-caliber team. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "3 parting thoughts on the Dallas Fuel’s weekend loss to the Florida Mayhem," 16 June 2020 Unemployment in Muskegon County is a staggering 29 percent - and the statewide figure for Michigan is only slightly better at a depression-caliber 22.7 percent. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, "Ripple effects of downturn show pandemic’s early economic toll was just the beginning," 15 June 2020 When players of that caliber commit to the Buckeyes — especially the ones from outside the Midwest — the ripple effects are felt in other conferences and regions. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football recruiting keeps the rest of the Big Ten at arm’s length in Blue Chip Ratio: Buckeye Take," 13 June 2020 At 34, Green is still a rotation-caliber NBA wing who can provide energy, slash to the rim and hit the open 3-pointer. Connor Letourneau,, "Whom could Warriors sign during NBA transaction window?," 12 June 2020 Not many expected Brogdon to be here, a key starter on a playoff-caliber team, or in the NBA even for this long. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, "Malcolm Brogdon comfortable taking lead off the court as well as on it with the Pacers," 8 July 2019 McGwire’s no slouch, but Dave Stewart was sort of a different caliber. John Shea,, "I-5 Series, Game 4: Rickey Henderson bails out Dave Stewart, NorCal wins 7-6," 30 May 2020 Joe Mixon is a Pro Bowl-caliber running back, Tyler Boyd is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, John Ross is an explosive deep threat and Green is a legit No.1 target. Tyler Dragon,, "Joe Burrow, AJ Green and other burning questions out of the NFL's AFC North in 2020," 25 May 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

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caliber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 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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