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

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 Just does not compute in my mind of what that looks like. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 16 June 2022 Even a supercomputer that can perform over 500,000 trillion floating point operations per second will not compute a precise solution. Paul Smith-goodson, Forbes, 8 June 2022 The equations could not effectively be used to compute the forecast until much later, because people solving them by hand would not be able to do the computations fast enough. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 7 June 2022 Any of these can be in local hardware or take advantage of cloud compute from Azure. Michael Muchmore, PCMAG, 24 May 2022 Success in politics is often difficult to compute and Trump was a persistent failure in one key metric: His approval rating was often in record-low territory. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 11 Mar. 2022 Unfortunately, Statman's article does not show how to compute what amount of spending is safe or how much is too much. David John Marotta, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 Down here in Alabama, such a combination of words doesn’t compute in this college football-crazy part of the country. Mark Heim |, al, 21 Apr. 2022 The barometer crunches traditional economic-performance metrics such as unemployment rate and GDP, and then benchmarks those figures against costs of living—healthcare, housing, schooling and childcare—to compute a sustainability score. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near compute



computed tomography

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Statistics for compute

Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Compute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for compute


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

Kids Definition of compute

: to find out by using mathematics compute a total

More from Merriam-Webster on compute

Nglish: Translation of compute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compute for Arabic Speakers


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