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


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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 He’s no longer the MVP-caliber player that dominated for Denver or New York during the heart of his career. oregonlive, "Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. coming up huge for Portland Trail Blazers’ during playoff push," 5 Aug. 2020 Good thing, because their championship-caliber roster might need to be significantly overhauled in 2021. Eric Branch,, "Why the 49ers’ title window could shut sooner than expected," 3 Aug. 2020 Quarterbacks of this caliber are a rarity, and are the franchise foundation for decades. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Mailbag: Should John Elway trade up to take Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons?," 21 Jan. 2020 That led to some planning, including where to park a getaway car, how to protect their faces and what weapon to use (a .22 caliber pistol), as well as where to stage the holdup to escape notice. Paula Allen,, "50 years ago, daring train robbery in San Antonio park targeted tourists; anniversary recreation to help zoo," 11 July 2020 For Gabe Kapler and Farhan Zaidi, whose duties include turning the Giants into a championship-caliber organization down the road, winning in 2020 is realistic. John Shea,, "Outlook for Giants’ Gabe Kapler, Farhan Zaidi: We’re starting in a pennant race," 30 June 2020 James also is putting together another MVP-caliber season, averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and a league-high 10.6 assists. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Four years after Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship, where are they now?," 19 June 2020 Police found ammunition in Scott’s room that was the same caliber as the bullets used in the shooting, the affidavit says, and the other man involved in the argument identified Scott in a photo lineup. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "26-year-old fatally shot man who tried to break up argument in Red Bird, Dallas police say," 9 June 2020 These over-the-ear headphones even have a lengthy battery life of up to 35 hours, and users note that the audio caliber is superior. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Here's how students can get a free pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones at Best Buy," 13 July 2020

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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Time Traveler for caliber

Time Traveler

The first known use of caliber was in 1588

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Statistics for caliber

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caliber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for caliber


How to pronounce caliber (audio)

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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