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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for caliber


class, grade, quality, rate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Some of that relates to the caliber of opponent, but much of the performance letdown has been on the shoulders of the pitching staff. Alex Speier,, "Breaking down a bizarre first half for the Red Sox," 10 July 2019 Given the caliber of opponent and that his brother, Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell, will be on the other sideline, this will arguably be the biggest game of Gabe Sewell’s last college season., "Oregon opponent early scouting report: Nevada," 9 July 2019 What won't change is the quality caliber of prospects on display Sunday at 7 p.m ET. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "10 top MLB prospects to watch in the 2019 Futures Game," 6 July 2019 The San Diego Symphony’s waterfront concert series, which kicks off Friday, has lined up a who’s who of San Diego culinary talent worthy of the musical caliber onstage. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "11 things to do this weekend in San Diego: Bayside Summer Nights, Switchfoot Bro-Am, ‘Legendary Drag Queens of San Diego’," 28 June 2019 Rafael Nadal's current French Open—apologies, Roland-Garros—run, in T.G.Misanthrope's estimation, is slightly more impressive due to the higher caliber of competition resultant of modernity, but, ooh wee! Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: The Downside of Media Training for Young Players," 26 June 2019 Houston police responded to the shooting around 2 p.m. and found a bullet inside the victim's closet that was the same caliber used by an AK-47, police said. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Houston man accused of shooting boy with AK-47 after posting bail for murder charge," 13 June 2019 Fewer still could boast of contributors of the caliber of those who wrote for the journal, especially in its early days, and the quality and durability of their contributions. The New York Review of Books, "Mitchell Abidor," 17 May 2019 Sure, maybe not a queen of the same caliber, but a queen nonetheless. Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, "I Ate Like Queen Elizabeth For a Week, and It Was a Royal Pain," 18 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about caliber

Statistics for caliber

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for caliber

The first known use of caliber was in 1588

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!