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

There are currently more than 500,000 unfilled computing jobs nationally, 72,000 of which are in California (Conference Board, 2019). Andrew Lisa, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Too few Bay Area students have access to computer science courses," 11 Aug. 2019 Many, however, rely on Indian universities’ remarkable ability to turn out engineers in great numbers, and computing firms’ ability to use them to solve complex problems. The Economist, "Core elements of the global banking industry are moving to India," 8 Aug. 2019 Microsoft's Bill Gates and Apple's Steve Jobs built off computing technology that NASA incubated during the Apollo era, Hero said. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "How NASA's Apollo program kicked off Silicon Valley's tech revolution," 4 Aug. 2019 Although women of color comprise 39 percent of the U.S. population (and will be the majority by 2060), only 12 percent of all women in computing roles are filled by black or Latina women. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "In the know: Women in the news 7/28-8/2," 2 Aug. 2019 FCore is designed so that the two different classes of AI can either be represented by a common underlying compute architecture or easily reconfigured on the fly to handle one or the other. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "One chip to rule them all: It natively runs all types of AI software," 31 July 2019 The company’s cloud computing performance continues to dwarf revenue from the No. Jay Greene, Washington Post, "Amazon’s profit edges higher as regulators scrutinize company’s growing clout," 25 July 2019 Codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing has been chosen as the face of Britain's new 50 pound note, the Bank of England announced Monday., "WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Imitation Game,’ to be face of U.K. 50 pound note," 15 July 2019 Elsewhere in enterprise computing land, Microsoft acquired startup BlueTalon, which helps companies control data sharing, for an undisclosed sum. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Jeff Williams May Not Be the Next Apple CEO—Data Sheet," 30 July 2019

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

18 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

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