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[kal-kyuh-ley-ter] /ˈkæl kyəˌleɪ tər/
a person who calculates or computes.
Also called calculating machine. a small electronic or mechanical device that performs calculations, requiring manual action for each individual opertion.
a person who operates such a machine.
a set of tables that facilitates calculation.
Origin of calculator
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin; see calculate, -tor
Related forms
minicalculator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for calculator
  • Often he had his calculator on the side, adding and weighting and subtracting and compiling.
  • And they will not be able to even total the fast food purchase with a calculator.
  • Indeed, aside from the pocket calculator, the introduction of new products has fallen off drastically in the last ten years.
  • The word originally meant an individual who solved equations, often using a mechanical calculator.
  • HP not only launched a succession of world-changing products, such as the pocket calculator.
  • Near the boardroom sits a desk-sized calculator with hundreds of knobs.
  • He had set the detonation timer, disguised as a calculator, when seeing her off to the airport.
  • It happens to be the default level that comes up when you use the military retirement calculator.
  • Each student has a graphing calculator which is hooked up to the teacher's computer screen.
  • Any student who forgets his or her non-graphing calculator can borrow mine.
British Dictionary definitions for calculator


a device for performing mathematical calculations, esp an electronic device that can be held in the hand
a person or thing that calculates
a set of tables used as an aid to calculations
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 calculator

late 14c., "mathematician, one who calculates," from Latin calculator, from calculatus, past participle of calculare "to reckon, compute," from calculus (see calculus). Of mechanical adding machine contraptions, from 1784. Of electronic ones, from 1946.

Electronic calculator uses 18,000 tubes to solve complex problems ["Scientific American" headline, June 1946]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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calculator in Culture

calculator definition

An electronic device for performing automatic mathematical computations, usually controlled by a keyboard. Some are actually small computers, with limited memory, that allow the user to use simple programs.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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calculator in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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