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

The truck driver fired off three rounds from a black, .40 caliber Astra Panther handgun — hitting the motorcyclist in the torso and right arm, according to police. Doug Phillips,, "Driver charged in traffic dispute and shooting that ‘shattered’ arm of motorcyclist," 28 Aug. 2019 The interstate tractor-trailer driver has a .45 caliber Ruger P90 handgun and sometimes uses cocaine and methamphetamine, the affidavit quoted his unidentified Alabama friend as saying. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Feds: Florida man was ‘thinking about’ a church attack," 20 Aug. 2019 When police arrived Mitchell shot at them with a Springfield .40 caliber handgun before officers returned fire. Christopher Harress |, al, "20-year-old charged with 3 counts of attempted murder after shootout with Mobile cops," 14 Aug. 2019 In total five firearms were recovered, including a .40 caliber Glock handgun; a Colt Cobra revolver; a revolver that had significant corrosion; and an semi-automatic handgun with significant corrosion. Emily Sweeney,, "Man uses powerful magnet to pull an Uzi and other firearms out from the bottom of Pillings Pond," 23 July 2019 During trial, witnesses testified Weaver went to work that morning with a .380 caliber handgun in his front pocket. Carol Robinson |,, "74-year-old substitute teacher convicted in discharge of gun in 1st-grade Alabama classroom," 22 July 2019 One said Mathis routinely carried around a black .40 caliber handgun. Jeff Weiner,, "Man indicted on murder charge in woman’s shooting at east-Orange mobile home park," 18 July 2019 In North Little Rock, there is a championship-caliber baseball team getting ready for the playoffs., "Is the Seattle Mariners’ future the Arkansas Travelers’ present?," 15 Aug. 2019 Top to bottom, the Red Sox possess a deep, loaded, championship-caliber lineup. Alex Speier,, "Breaking down a bizarre first half for the Red Sox," 10 July 2019

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

8 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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