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 The best competition at the time, the Pixel 3, could only compute for two layers of depth from its single camera, the foreground and background. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Light, the company behind the Nokia 9 camera, quits the smartphone business," 12 June 2020 Before every takeoff, the pilots compute the weight and balance of the airplane. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Do pilots notice a difference in takeoff for near-empty planes versus full flights?," 6 June 2020 But of all the things computing power has brought to the automobile in the last couple decades, few have had as positive an effect as electronic stability control (ESC). Daniel Pund, Car and Driver, "Electronic Stability Control: Equal Parts Safety and Fun," 24 May 2020 Flexential, like most Hillsboro data centers, leases space in its facilities to other companies seeking computing power and storage. Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Another huge Hillsboro data center will start construction this summer," 7 May 2020 The amount of computing power needed to train an algorithm using reinforcement learning can be massive and costly too. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "The pandemic is fast-tracking the adoption of smarter, stronger A.I.," 21 Apr. 2020 But doing that requires an extraordinary amount of computing power, more than most universities or research institutions have at their fingertips. John D'anna, azcentral, "How your personal computer can help science battle the coronavirus while you sleep," 27 Mar. 2020 Other technologies, such as data science or computing power, will also focus on solving a lot of biological questions in agriculture, health, and food. Quartz India, "Rajesh Garodia on the jobs that will define India’s future," 11 Feb. 2020 Four years ago, Aaron Levie moved Box Inc., the fast-growing cloud-computing company he co-founded, into a new, red-brick building with its logo on the facade. Katherine Bindley, WSJ, "Silicon Valley’s Next Big Office Idea: Work From Anywhere," 17 May 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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Time Traveler for compute

Time Traveler

The first known use of compute was in 1579

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Statistics for compute

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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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

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