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

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 Beijing is planning retaliatory measures calibrated to be proportionate to the U.S. actions, not to escalate the fight, people familiar with the plans have said. WSJ, "China’s Shift Away From Exports Provides Cushion Against Tariffs," 23 Mar. 2018 With the incorporation of hip-hop music, an airy ambiance and hands-on guidance, 'Hood Yoga' founder, Chaundra Cabrera, is helping calibrate an undercurrent of tones that represent an entire community. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Phoenix 'Hood Yoga' studio created for people looking for different beat," 21 June 2018 But computers keep getting bigger and more powerful, as do the data sets used to populate and calibrate the models. M. Mitchell Waldrop, Science | AAAS, "What if a nuke goes off in Washington, D.C.? Simulations of artificial societies help planners cope with the unthinkable," 12 Apr. 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

4 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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playful or foolish behavior

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