calm

noun
\ ˈkäm , ˈkälm , ˈkam , ˈkȯ(l)m \

Definition of calm 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a period or condition of freedom from storms, high winds, or rough activity of water a sailing ship motionless in the calm

b : 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

2 : a state of tranquility At dusk a quiet calm settled over the town.

calm

verb
calmed; calming; calms

Definition of calm (Entry 2 of 3)

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 reasonable —S. H. Adams

calm

adjective

Definition of calm (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : marked by calm : still a calm sea

2 : free from agitation, excitement, or disturbance

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from calm

Adjective

calmly adverb
calmness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for calm

Adjective

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

Adjective

calm, peaceful, and tranquil mean quiet and free from disturbance. calm is used when someone is not excited or upset even when there is cause for it. They stayed calm during the fire. peaceful is used when someone or something has reached a quiet state after some period of disturbance. The storm is over and the lake is peaceful again. tranquil is used for a total or lasting state of rest. They stopped at a tranquil garden.

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Serenity section is an oasis of calm on ships that generally cater to noisy children, frenetic pool games, and loud music. David G. Molyneaux, miamiherald, "Carnival, that most American of cruise lines, won't return to Europe any time soon," 5 July 2018 Her calm turned to worry, then dread, and finally panic. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 Last year’s mutinies have shown that despite its relative calm and roaring economy, Ivory Coast remains vulnerable to unrest and Ouattara’s hold over the army is tenuous. Baudelaire Mieu, Bloomberg.com, "Ivory Coast’s Army Fears More Mutinies Over Bonus Dispute," 4 May 2018 For the most skin-soothing effects, look for a moisturizer containing aloe, which helps calm burned skin. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "The Fastest, Most Effective Ways to Treat a Sunburn," 13 July 2018 There are conflicting reports of how much and what kind of medication given to the boys to keep them calm or knock them out for the operation. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "New information suggests the 12 Thai boys trapped in a cave were medicated and carried out on stretchers during the rescue operation.," 11 July 2018 That calm was shattered by the Syrian army’s June 22 offensive, whose speed has surprised observers and outstripped aid agencies’ response plans. Louisa Loveluck, The Seattle Times, "Syrian rebels in surrender talks for southwest as civilians flee toward closed borders," 3 July 2018 Commissioner Todd Portune called for calm on Monday at the most recent commissioner meeting. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "The Banks concert venue: What's next," 20 June 2018 One of the greatest gifts is the intense appreciation for things that bring peace, calm, and comfort. BostonGlobe.com, "Letters to the editor of the Globe Magazine," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Police said video surveillance showed a woman trying to calm down the situation when Ragin launched a punch at Jones. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Police: Airport worker insulted, threatened Adam Jones before fight," 13 July 2018 To try to calm the protests, Mr Ortega beat a tactical retreat. The Economist, "Daniel Ortega is causing a bloodbath in Nicaragua," 12 July 2018 The Afghan Army has been deployed to parts of Maimana, and the president has dispatched his director of local governance and his army chief to try to calm the anger. New York Times, "Afghan Province in Chaos After Crackdown on Militia Leader," 4 July 2018 As criticism became more intense, Trump sought to calm the situation, the officials said. Washington Post, "Separations at the border didn’t worry some Trump officials," 3 July 2018 As criticism became more intense, Trump sought to calm the situation, the officials said. Colleen Long, The Seattle Times, "Separations at the border didn’t worry some Trump officials," 2 July 2018 As criticism became more intense, Mr. Trump sought to calm the situation, the officials said. CBS News, "Trump's "zero tolerance" policy sowed confusion from start," 1 July 2018 As criticism became more intense, Trump sought to calm the situation, the officials said. Colleen Long And Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, chicagotribune.com, "Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy sowed confusion from start," 1 July 2018 Eventually, a black officer can be seen attempting to calm the situation, helping the family get a refund. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "#GoingToTheMoviesWhileBlack: Parents Say Movie Theater Manager Called Cops on Them After They Tried to Retrieve Kids from Cinema," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

According to Steel: From Mine to Mill, everything remained calm for about 10 minutes, and then suddenly sparks, flames, and molten pig iron came bursting from the container. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Ekapol also taught the kids meditation to help them remain calm and not dwell on their hunger. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "'Hero or zero?': Thailand abuzz over coach who led boys into cave – then kept them alive," 5 July 2018 Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong called on citizens to trust the party’s leaders and remain calm, according to a statement posted on the government’s website Monday. John Boudreau, Bloomberg.com, "In Vietnam, Discontent Lurks Under Surface of Economic Success," 19 June 2018 Running helps me clear my mind and feel calm and not worry about such serious stuff for a while. Brittany Risher, SELF, "After 4 Cancer Diagnoses in 8 Years, This Pro Racer Is Still Running," 12 May 2018 All was calm: the cars and buses had returned thousands of workers to homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the theatregoers and the diners were contentedly watching shows or eating in restaurants. Joseph O’neill, The New Yorker, "The First World," 21 June 2018 Although Keith was calm, the officer called for backup. Alisa Roth, Vox, "A worried mom wanted the police to take her mentally ill son to the hospital. They shot him.," 30 May 2018 Just me and you, standing on that landing, all was calm. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Love Letters for Narciso: Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, and More Pen Odes to the Beloved Designer," 29 May 2018 Later on Friday Doria, who is said to have won the royal family over with her calm confidence and unflappable nature, will meet Her Majesty the Queen. Katie Nicholl, Vanities, "Royal Wedding: Meghan Markle Personally Asked Prince Charles to Walk Her Down the Aisle," 18 May 2018

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

Noun

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for calm

Noun

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

Verb

see calm entry 1

Adjective

see calm entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about calm

Statistics for calm

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for calm

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for calm

calm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of calm

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a quiet and peaceful state or condition

: a peaceful mental or emotional state

calm

verb

English Language Learners Definition of calm (Entry 2 of 3)

: to become or to cause (someone) to become less upset, emotional, excited, etc.

: to become or to cause (something) to become less active, violent, forceful, etc.

calm

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of calm (Entry 3 of 3)

: not angry, upset, excited, etc.

—used to describe weather that is not windy, stormy, etc.

calm

noun
\ ˈkäm , ˈkälm \

Kids Definition of calm

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a period or condition of freedom from storm, wind, or rough water

2 : a quiet and peaceful state We enjoyed the calm of the countryside.

calm

verb
calmed; calming

Kids Definition of calm (Entry 2 of 3)

: to make or become less active or disturbed often used with down The music calmed her.The winds calmed down overnight.

calm

adjective
calmer; calmest

Kids Definition of calm (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : not stormy or windy a calm night

2 : not excited or upset a calm reply Please remain calm.

Other words from calm

calmly adverb spoke calmly
calmness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on calm

What made you want to look up calm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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