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 \ ˈka-​lə-​ˌbrā-​tər \ noun

Examples of calibrate in a Sentence

carefully calibrate the dosage of a medicine

Recent Examples on the Web

Nor was the dust storm, with the dust either shed from the cameras or calibrated out. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "NASA's $400M Mars Opportunity may not be lost after all," 31 Aug. 2018 Breastfeeding, which helps to calibrate a baby’s immune system, can help. The Economist, "Germ-free children may be more prone to leukaemia," 24 May 2018 GmbH took a strong, but evenly calibrated, position on senses of otherness; of immigrants, perhaps feeling unwelcome even in countries that hold in their heritage a message of open arms for all. Vogue, "From Kim Jones’s Vuitton Goodbye to Hedi Slimane’s Céline Surprise, All the Highlights from the Paris Men’s Shows," 22 Jan. 2018 The smart unit will then calibrate itself for optimum sound. 800-526-5308, Nicole Sforza, ELLE Decor, "Just Add Popcorn," 5 July 2012 Western nations have remained careful in calibrating their responses, to neither disgruntle the wealthy and investment-eager Saudi leadership nor domestic human rights supporters too much. Rick Noack, The Seattle Times, "85,000 children have starved to death during the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, charity reports," 21 Nov. 2018 D’Onofrio calibrates every detail of his performance, down to the most seemingly forgettable stuff, and somehow makes those things unforgettable. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Daredevil season 3 is a return to what made the show so good in season 1," 15 Oct. 2018 To put things in context, an average of 102 people were killed in the US every day by car crashes in 2016, so calibrate your sense of panic accordingly. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Trash your romaine lettuce and don’t eat any in restaurants, says the CDC," 21 Nov. 2018 But there’s a large obstacle in your way: temperature variations in an oven that’s not probably calibrated. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Only Meat Thermometer Any Serious Person Needs," 29 Oct. 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

14 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on calibrate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with calibrate

Spanish Central: Translation of calibrate

Nglish: Translation of calibrate for Spanish Speakers

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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