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[kal-uh-breyt] /ˈkæl əˌbreɪt/
verb (used with object), calibrated, calibrating.
to determine, check, or rectify the graduation of (any instrument giving quantitative measurements).
to divide or mark with gradations, graduations, or other indexes of degree, quantity, etc., as on a thermometer, measuring cup, or the like.
to determine the correct range for (an artillery gun, mortar, etc.) by observing where the fired projectile hits.
to plan or devise (something) carefully so as to have a precise use, application, appeal, etc.:
a sales strategy calibrated to rich investors.
Origin of calibrate
1860-65; caliber + -ate1
Related forms
calibration, noun
calibrator, calibrater, noun
intercalibration, noun
recalibrate, verb (used with object), recalibrated, recalibrating.
uncalibrated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for calibration
  • It was not an exercise in silliness, but in calibration.
  • Unlike earlier bellicosity, today's rhetoric lacks calibration.
  • We realized that the best time for our twilight calibration data is precisely when the bugs come out and start biting.
  • As a result, astronomers have had to rely on indirect methods of calibration.
  • Easy color calibration without the exorbitant prices of professional units.
  • Cons: automatic brightness calibration should not be displayed by default.
  • Also you would have to be careful with the calibration phase, if the drivers got wind of it, they could inflate the results.
  • Settings are tweaked automatically, and the before vs after images are striking in the effect the calibration has.
  • If you prefer to wing it, you can make the adjustments without buying a calibration disc.
  • In fact, it gave itself an extra year to get the calibration right.
British Dictionary definitions for calibration


verb (transitive)
to measure the calibre of (a gun, mortar, etc)
to mark (the scale of a measuring instrument) so that readings can be made in appropriate units
to determine the accuracy of (a measuring instrument, etc)
to determine or check the range and accuracy of (a piece of artillery)
Derived Forms
calibration, noun
calibrator, calibrater, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for calibration

1854, noun of action from calibrate.



1839, verb formed from caliber + -ate (2). Related: calibrated; calibrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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calibration in Medicine

calibrate cal·i·brate (kāl'ə-brāt')
v. cal·i·brat·ed, cal·i·brat·ing, cal·i·brates

  1. To check, adjust, or determine the graduations of a quantitative measuring instrument by comparison with a standard.

  2. To determine the caliber of a tube.

  3. To make corrections in or adjust a procedure or process.

cal'i·bra'tor n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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calibration in Science
  1. To check, adjust, or standardize a measuring instrument, usually by comparing it with an accepted model.

  2. To measure the diameter of the inside of a tube.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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