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ˈkäm How to pronounce calm (audio) ˈkälm How to pronounce calm (audio)
: a period or condition of freedom from storms, high winds, or rough activity of water
a sailing ship motionless in the calm
: complete absence of wind or presence of wind having a speed no greater than one mile (1.6 kilometers) per hour see Beaufort Scale Table
: a state of tranquility
At dusk a quiet calm settled over the town.


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calmed; calming; calms

intransitive verb

: to become calm
usually used with down
The mayor asked the protesters to calm down so he could speak.

transitive verb

: to make calm
often used with down
calm him down; get him to be reasonableS. H. Adams


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: marked by calm : still
a calm sea
: free from agitation, excitement, or disturbance
calmly adverb
calmness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for calm

calm, tranquil, serene, placid, peaceful mean quiet and free from disturbance.

calm often implies a contrast with a foregoing or nearby state of agitation or violence.

the protests ended, and the streets were calm again

tranquil suggests a very deep quietude or composure.

the tranquil beauty of a formal garden

serene stresses an unclouded and lofty tranquility.

watched the sunset of a serene summer's evening

placid suggests an undisturbed appearance and often implies a degree of complacency.

remained placid despite the criticism

peaceful implies a state of repose in contrast with or following strife or turmoil.

grown peaceful in old age

Examples of calm in a Sentence

Noun After two days of violent protests, the mayor appealed for calm. The calm was broken by another terrorist bombing. the calm of a church Police tried to restore calm after the riot. A quiet calm settled over the city. Verb His words were effective in calming her fears. The medicine helped calm her breathing. Adjective The teacher asked us to remain calm after the fire alarm went off. Let's try to have a calm discussion about your grades.
Recent Examples on the Web
For nervous, anxious, or overexcited dogs on the go, an all-natural supplement can help promote calm while traveling. Lauren Breedlove, Travel + Leisure, 21 May 2024 As battles raged in the north and east of the Kharkiv region, the city itself enjoyed a rare moment of calm on Sunday, May 12. Fox News, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for calm 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'calm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun, Verb, and Adjective

Middle English calme, probably ultimately from Old Spanish calma, from Late Latin cauma heat, from Greek kauma, from kaiein to burn

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of calm was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near calm

Cite this Entry

“Calm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
: a period or state of freedom from storm, wind, or rough water
: complete lack of wind or the presence of wind of no more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) per hour
: a state of freedom from excitement or disturbance : peacefulness


2 of 3 verb
: to make or become calm


3 of 3 adjective
: marked by calm : still
a calm sea
: free from excitement or disturbance
a calm manner
calmly adverb
calmness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on calm

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