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[kal-kyuh-leyt] /ˈkæl kyəˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), calculated, calculating.
to determine or ascertain by mathematical methods; compute:
to calculate the velocity of light.
to determine by reasoning, common sense, or practical experience; estimate; evaluate; gauge.
to make suitable or fit for a purpose; adapt (usually used passively and with an infinitive):
His remarks were calculated to inspire our confidence.
Chiefly Northern U.S.
  1. to think; guess.
  2. to intend; plan.
verb (used without object), calculated, calculating.
to make a computation or form an estimate.
to count or rely (usually followed by on or upon):
They calculated on good weather.
1560-70; < Late Latin calculātus reckoned (past participle of calculāre), equivalent to calculus pebble (see calculus) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
precalculate, verb (used with object), precalculated, precalculating.
1. count, figure, cast. 3. design, plan, intend, mean. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for calculate
  • To calculate the real exchange rate, you need a gauge of prices in each country.
  • When you have the perimeters of the path staked out, you can calculate its area and estimate the amount of material you will need.
  • By measuring the amount of red and green in the paintings, the scientists aimed to calculate the amount of dust in the atmosphere.
  • Now the people who compile indices are changing the way in which they calculate them to take account of such scarcity.
  • Sensors on the interstate will calculate any tolls and automatically deduct the proper amount from the driver's prepaid account.
  • Tax preparation software will automatically and correctly calculate the amount of the rebate recovery credit for you.
  • Researchers have found a way to mathematically calculate the rarity of a fingerprint.
  • It is not easy to calculate accurately the likelihood of disasters.
  • There you can admire stone rings used to calculate astronomical cycles and you can also marvel at the remains of a mural.
  • Check the chart below to calculate the area that will be covered by a specified number of plants set out at various spacings.
British Dictionary definitions for calculate


to solve (one or more problems) by a mathematical procedure; compute
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to determine beforehand by judgment, reasoning, etc; estimate
(transitive; usually passive) to design specifically; aim the car was calculated to appeal to women
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) to depend; rely
(transitive; may take a clause as object) (US, dialect)
  1. to suppose; think
  2. to intend (to do something)
Derived Forms
calculative (ˈkælkjʊlətɪv) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin calculāre, from calculus pebble used as a counter; see calculus
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 calculate
1560s, "to compute, to estimate by mathematical means," from L. calculatus, pp. of calculare "to reckon, compute," from calculus (see calculus). Meaning "to plan, devise" is from 1650s. Replaced earlier calculen (mid-14c.), from O.Fr. calculer. Related: Calculable
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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