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 First there was software as a service, and then compute and infrastructure as a service, then platforms as a service, and now even storage and databases as a service. Rob Pegoraro, Ars Technica, "“Everything as a service” is coming—but we’re not there quite yet," 10 Sep. 2019 The company also maintains that e-commerce and cloud computing inherently emit less carbon than personal shopping trips and on-premises data centers. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Nearly 1,000 Amazon employees plan a walkout to protest climate change," 9 Sep. 2019 Retrofit standards have significantly improved since the 1990s, and today’s computing technology allows engineers far better tools to identify flaws in a building’s design, Filippou added. Los Angeles Times, "Earthquakes could kill people in many UCLA, UC Berkeley buildings, officials say," 29 Aug. 2019 The 2018 attack also required pre-computing a table of many billions of keys based on all the possible codes that might be sent from the key fob. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "Hackers Could Steal a Tesla Model S by Cloning Its Key Fob—Again," 27 Aug. 2019 Waymo will start its Florida operations in Naples on a closed course to test the sensors and computing abilities of its cars. Kevin Spear,, "Waymo will test autonomous cars in Florida downpours," 20 Aug. 2019 Charles Isbell, the executive director of Constellations and the incoming dean of computing at Georgia Tech, still sees computing education as a necessary step. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Problem With Diversity in Computing," 25 June 2019 Google currently employs about 600 people in Michigan, mostly in advertising sales and technical support for services such as Google's cloud-computing platform. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Google plans $17-million expansion in Michigan, to add jobs in Detroit and Ann Arbor," 10 June 2019 Seven years ago, billionaire Marc Benioff’s cloud-computing company Salesforce gave San Francisco schools the biggest corporate gift the district had ever seen. Jill Tucker,, "‘Maker’ labs, coding class and reading clubs: Salesforce giving boosts SF, Oakland schools," 12 Sep. 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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for compute

The first known use of compute was in 1579

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More Definitions for compute


How to pronounce compute (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compute

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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