cal·​i·​per | \ ˈka-lə-pər How to pronounce caliper (audio) \

Definition of caliper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : any of various measuring instruments having two usually adjustable arms, legs, or jaws used especially to measure diameter or thickness usually used in plurala pair of calipers
b : a device for pressing a frictional material (such as a brake pad) against the sides of a rotating wheel or disc
2 : thickness especially of paper, cardboard, or a tree


calipered; calipering\ ˈka-​lə-​p(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce calipering (audio) \

Definition of caliper (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to measure by or as if by calipers

Illustration of caliper

Illustration of caliper


caliper 1a

In the meaning defined above

Examples of caliper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The brake calipers were painted to show off Ford’s bright competition orange paint. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Vintage cars and hot rods shine in Pearland show," 25 Oct. 2019 The rear is a single 240mm disc with a single piston caliper. Joe Michaud, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 KTM 790 Duke: a lightweight, midsize rocket of a bike," 25 Aug. 2019 The 20-inch Urano aluminum wheels were upgraded on the tester to black 21-inchers with black calipers, with Pirelli P Zero tires — 245/35 front, 285/30 rear. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 Maserati Ghibli S Q4: from savior to the sidelines," 7 July 2019 Dealers will flush the brake fluid and replace the front brake calipers and brake lines at no cost to customers. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford recalls F-150, Explorer, Expedition for seats may detach in crash," 18 June 2019 The city estimates to have lost 15,600 caliper inches. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Dallas officials estimate the city's parks lost more than 600 trees in storm," 19 June 2019 Researchers have used scanners, photocopiers, calipers, rulers, and even x-ray machines to assess finger length; in some studies the subjects measured themselves. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Talk to the hand. Scientists try to debunk idea that finger length can reveal personality and health," 6 June 2019 Silver calipers with red Alfa script are eye-catching. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio: An Italian job for the family," 12 Jan. 2018 Inadequate development at the manufacturer that leaves brake systems prone to noise can usually be overcome by a Saturday mechanic without totally re-engineering the caliper/mount/pad/disc system. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, "How to Fix Squeaky Brakes," 14 Mar. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Standard Tornado Red calipers signal to the 99.999999 percent that this is indeed the V-8 trim. Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "SUV-8: Bentley Bentayga Gets a 542-HP Twin-Turbo Eight-Cylinder," 12 Jan. 2018

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


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1793, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caliper


alteration of caliber

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Statistics for caliper

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for caliper

The first known use of caliper was in 1581

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More Definitions for caliper


cal·​i·​per | \ ˈka-lə-pər How to pronounce caliper (audio) \

Kids Definition of caliper

: an instrument with two adjustable legs used to measure the thickness of objects or the distance between surfaces usually used in pl.a pair of calipers


variants: or chiefly British calliper \ ˈkal-​ə-​pər How to pronounce calliper (audio) \

Medical Definition of caliper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of various measuring instruments having two usually adjustable arms, legs, or jaws used to measure thickness, diameter, and distance between surfaces usually used in plural a pair of calipers
variants: or chiefly British calliper
calipered; calipering\ -​p(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce calipering (audio) \

Medical Definition of caliper (Entry 2 of 2)

: to measure by or as if by calipers

More from Merriam-Webster on caliper

Britannica English: Translation of caliper for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about caliper

Comments on caliper

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to spread as a report or rumor

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