com·​pute | \ kəm-ˈpyüt How to pronounce compute (audio) \
computed; computing

Definition of compute

transitive verb

: to determine especially by mathematical means Compute the area of the triangle. also : to determine or calculate by means of a computer computing pi to over one billion places

intransitive verb

1 : to make calculation : reckon They compute by weight in selling grain.
2 : to use a computer
3 informal : to make sense No matter how you do the math, it will not work … . It simply does not compute.— Chuck Finder

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Examples of compute in a Sentence

for the test we were required to compute the answers without using a calculator
Recent Examples on the Web Four years ago, Aaron Levie moved Box Inc., the fast-growing cloud-computing company he co-founded, into a new, red-brick building with its logo on the facade. Katherine Bindley, WSJ, "Silicon Valley’s Next Big Office Idea: Work From Anywhere," 17 May 2020 As a cloud computing company, Box was well situated to move work out of its San Francisco headquarters when the pandemic arrived. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "Silicon Valley Rethinks the (Home) Office," 15 May 2020 Revenue from cloud-service providers, which offer computing power and storage via the internet, surged 48% in the fourth quarter, fueling a gain in sales of the company’s most lucrative chips. Ian King,, "Intel Gains as Data Center Revival Fuels Revenue Growth," 5 May 2020 Investing more than $2 million in a potential third quarterback with three career pass attempts did not compute. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Dallas Cowboys waive QB Cooper Rush, officially sign Andy Dalton," 4 May 2020 The infection rates for the group could be computed in a similar fashion, to reveal the pattern about how testing changes and the infection rate changes as rewards increase. Eduardo Porter, New York Times, "How Many Infections? Rewards for Testing May Provide an Answer," 21 Apr. 2020 The result: 2011 legislation that changed how benefits are computed, basing it on the average salary of the employee's past four quarters rather than the employee's highest-earning quarter. Amelia Pak-harvey, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana's unemployment funds will likely run out, experts say," 14 Apr. 2020 Will the idea that life is too mortifying to be taken seriously compute for teen-agers who spend their spare time screaming themselves hoarse at climate protests? Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "The Strokes’ Eerily Prescient “The New Abnormal”," 13 Apr. 2020 Emphasis was placed on learning how to read, write, compute, and pass tests in English. Kristina Rizga, The Atlantic, "The Alaska Native Teacher Upending the Legacy of Colonial Education," 4 Apr. 2020

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

1579, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for compute

Latin computare — more at count

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Time Traveler for compute

Time Traveler

The first known use of compute was in 1579

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Statistics for compute

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for compute


How to pronounce compute (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of compute

: to find out (something) by using mathematical processes


com·​pute | \ kəm-ˈpyüt How to pronounce compute (audio) \
computed; computing

Kids Definition of compute

: to find out by using mathematics compute a total

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More from Merriam-Webster on compute

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compute

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compute

Spanish Central: Translation of compute

Nglish: Translation of compute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compute for Arabic Speakers

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