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

As Oracle continued to lose ground in that market, Mr. Ellison reorganized the engineering teams that develop the company’s cloud-computing services this summer, according to a person familiar with the internal discussions. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Google’s Cloud-Computing Boss, Diane Greene, to Step Down," 16 Nov. 2018 Adding the veteran executive was seen as a coup for company, which has plowed money into the market for computing services delivered over the Internet., "Barnes & Noble fires CEO for violating company policies," 3 July 2018 Bryant, who led Intel’s data center business and was one of the company’s highest ranked female executives, joined Google’s (goog, -2.11%) cloud computing unit in late November as chief operating officer. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Former Intel Executive Diane Bryant Is Leaving Google After Joining Last Fall," 3 July 2018 Amazon, Microsoft and Google are all significant players in renting out computing storage and services to others, a business known as cloud infrastructure that Amazon essentially invented about 12 years ago. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Amazon Takes Market Cap Crown, Cementing Tech Power," 7 Jan. 2019 Progress in computing speed has slowed recently, but the cost of computing power is still estimated to be falling by a factor of 10 every 10 years. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 At issue back then wasn’t just reining in Microsoft on anti-trust grounds, but also insuring that computing’s future couldn’t be governed by one corporation, particularly on the matter of how the internet was going to impact ordinary life. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Dot-Coms Were Better Than Facebook," 13 Apr. 2018 America’s youth, whose introduction to computing in increasingly in the guise of Google’s Chromebooks. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Do we need another stripped-down version of Windows? Microsoft apparently thinks so," 3 Dec. 2018 The amount of computing effort expended by miners, known as the hash rate, has started falling. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Bitcoin Continues Steep Fall as Cryptocurrency Collapse Worsens," 26 Nov. 2018

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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Learn More about compute

Statistics for compute

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compute

The first known use of compute was in 1579

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More Definitions for compute



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compute

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compute

Spanish Central: Translation of compute

Nglish: Translation of compute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compute for Arabic Speakers

Comments on compute

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


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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