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 Georgia will not compute its College and Career Ready Performance Index, a numerical system that the governor's office then uses to assign letter grades to schools and districts. Jeff Amy, ajc, "Georgia won't rate schools and districts for 2nd year," 30 Mar. 2021 Well, my calculator doesn’t compute numbers that high. Houston Mitchell Assistant Sports Editor, Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers Dugout: Is it time to worry about Clayton Kershaw?," 29 Mar. 2021 Tunes grab the ear before the brain can compute who’s singing them, and thanks to headphones, music can be a particularly personal and private medium. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Why a Disgraced Musician Is Dominating the Charts," 25 Feb. 2021 Facebook said Candela’s team wasn’t responsible for addressing the misinformation problem, which didn’t compute to Hao. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Ten years of improvements have made Chromebooks pretty great," 12 Mar. 2021 That Biden, famously a respecter of norms, would set them aside now probably didn’t compute at first. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, "Biden’s Support for Unionizing Amazon Is a B.F.D.," 1 Mar. 2021 That number is difficult to compute, and it’s probably much larger than the actual number of coinciding points, but the authors proved that this hard ceiling does exist. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Set Numbers in Motion to Unlock Their Secrets," 22 Feb. 2021 Right now, bitcoin miners have enough collective horsepower to compute more than 12 x 1018 SHA-256 hashes per second. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Want to really understand how bitcoin works? Here’s a gentle primer," 26 Dec. 2020 To compute the monetary value of forests and other natural elements, the researchers used the concept of ecosystem services which includes quantitatively measuring the contribution of a natural element such as forests or river to the ecosystem. Manupriya, Quartz India, "The exact environmental cost of Delhi’s rapid and unplanned urbanisation," 21 Dec. 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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Learn More about compute

Time Traveler for compute

Time Traveler

The first known use of compute was in 1579

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Statistics for compute

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Compute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on compute

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