com·​pute | \ kəm-ˈpyüt \
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

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 Switches like these are the beginning of what’s possible in adding computing capabilities to living cells. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018 The company traditionally made products that run on mainframes, but in recent years has entered the cloud computing market. Bloomberg,, "Broadcom agrees to buy CA Technologies for $18.9 billion," 12 July 2018 Many cloud-computing services have file-sharing capabilities, too. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Cloud Computing?," 2 Feb. 2012 Herndon, Virginia, is the East Coast headquarters of the Amazon Web Services cloud-computing division, part of a 2,500-person contingent in the area. Matt Day, The Seattle Times, "Amazon shifts its sights to the East Coast," 13 Nov. 2018 As noted by Gizmodo, Salesforce, a cloud computing company whose regional headquarters is located in New York, and Microsoft both have direct cloud computing contracts with ICE. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Demonstrators Were Arrested While Protesting Amazon and Microsoft's Associations With ICE," 2 Aug. 2018 The supercomputer will be available to government-computing projects, academics and industry researchers. Jay Greene, WSJ, "U.S. Says It Reclaimed Supercomputer Crown From China," 8 June 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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Statistics for compute

Last Updated

22 Dec 2018

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 \
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

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