cal·​i·​brate | \ˈka-lə-ˌbrāt \
calibrated; calibrating

Definition of calibrate 

transitive verb

1 : to ascertain the caliber of (something) )

2 : to determine, rectify, or mark the graduations of (something, such as a thermometer tube)

3 : to standardize (something, such as a measuring instrument) by determining the deviation from a standard so as to ascertain the proper correction factors

4 : to adjust precisely for a particular function calibrate a thermometer

5 : to measure precisely carefully calibrate the dosage of a medicine especially : to measure against a standard

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Other Words from calibrate

calibrator \ -​ˌbrā-​tər \ noun

Examples of calibrate in a Sentence

carefully calibrate the dosage of a medicine

Recent Examples on the Web

Stainless steel, spring-action oven thermometers are factory-calibrated for accuracy and have a two-way base design, to either stand flat or hang from above or below an oven rack. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Only Meat Thermometer Any Serious Person Needs," 29 Oct. 2018 Republicans plan to probe allegations that touch screen machines in Allegheny County were not properly calibrated and could have possibly registered votes for Lamb when the voter intended to vote for Saccone. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Pennsylvania special election may see recount; Lamb, Saccone separated by razor-thin margin," 2 Oct. 2018 Compared to sibling E-Class, the CLS’s standard coil-spring suspension is calibrated a bit firmer overall. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS: A Move Toward Electrification," 3 Aug. 2018 Block length must also be finely calibrated to encourage walking. Neal Templin, WSJ, "What Makes Walkable Communities Work," 26 June 2018 Director Alana Dietze calibrates the story so that as opening night approaches, a growing sense of dread shadows the characters' rehearsal giddiness. Daryl H. Miller,, "'Ripe Frenzy,' a play about a school shooting, provokes thought with lyricism and restraint," 21 May 2018 Now that the system has been calibrated, the new GRACE satellites can begin studying the Earth's gravity in unprecedented detail, giving scientists a deeper understanding of the moving parts of our planet. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's New Climate Satellites Are Pioneering Laser Rangefinding Tech," 10 July 2018 The pace of play and the timing of the rewards are carefully calibrated to keep children engaged but not addicted, Marco says. Sarah Deweerdt, Science | AAAS, "Can science-based video games help kids with autism?," 22 June 2018 Second, these powers could be misused, either for overtly political ends or because they are badly calibrated. The Economist, "Zap! American officials can destroy foreign firms like gremlins on a screen," 5 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calibrate.' 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 calibrate

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for calibrate

caliber + -ate entry 4, perhaps after French calibrer

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Statistics for calibrate

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for calibrate

The first known use of calibrate was in 1850

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More Definitions for calibrate



English Language Learners Definition of calibrate

: to adjust or mark (something, such as a measuring device) so that it can be used in an accurate and exact way

: to measure (something) in an exact and precise way


transitive verb
cal·​i·​brate | \ˈkal-ə-ˌbrāt \
calibrated; calibrating

Medical Definition of calibrate 

1 : to ascertain the caliber of (as a thermometer tube)

2 : to determine, rectify, or mark the graduations of (as a thermometer tube)

3 : to standardize (as a measuring instrument) by determining the deviation from a standard so as to ascertain the proper correction factors

Other Words from calibrate

calibration \ ˌkal-​ə-​ˈbrā-​shən \ noun
calibrator \ ˈkal-​ə-​ˌbrāt-​ər \ noun

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Comments on calibrate

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