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[kal-uh-ber] /ˈkæl ə bər/
the diameter of something of circular section, especially that of the inside of a tube:
a pipe of three-inch caliber.
Ordnance. the diameter of the bore of a gun taken as a unit of measurement.
degree of capacity or competence; ability:
a mathematician of high caliber.
degree of merit or excellence; quality:
the high moral caliber of the era.
Also, especially British, calibre.
Origin of caliber
1560-70; variant of calibre < Middle FrenchArabic qālib mold, last < Greek kālápous shoe last, equivalent to kāla- combining form of kâlon wood + poús foot (see -pod)
Related forms
calibered; especially British, calibred, adjective
4. worth, distinction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for caliber
  • Unfortunately, the caliber of the essays varies widely.
  • But we have a wealth of literary artists too, especially poets of high caliber.
  • The plexuses are often in two layers: a superficial and a deep, the superficial being of smaller caliber than the deep.
  • Eleven others were wounded with shots from weapons state police identified as a Ruger .44-caliber rifle and a 30.06 hunting rifle.
  • Especially in difficult situations, the caliber and integrity of these people will be key to your success and your happiness.
  • The buyer should first decide exactly what type or caliber of rifle will be suitable to his needs.
  • Alvarez refused to hand over her $80, so Damien shot her in the head with a .22-caliber pistol.
  • Why a biographer of Gordon's caliber has recklessly sensationalized an already astonishing story is puzzling.
  • You need to show that you are already at their caliber of research and grant abilities to make the cut.
  • The enemy had generally new arms which had run the blockade and were of uniform caliber.
British Dictionary definitions for caliber


the diameter of a cylindrical body, esp the internal diameter of a tube or the bore of a firearm
the diameter of a shell or bullet
ability; distinction: a musician of high calibre
personal character: a man of high calibre
Derived Forms
calibred, (US) calibered, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Old French, from Italian calibro, from Arabic qālib shoemaker's last, mould
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 caliber

1560s, "degree of merit or importance," a figurative use from Middle French calibre (late 15c.), apparently ultimately from Arabic qalib "a mold for casting." Arabic also used the word in the sense "mold for casting bullets," which is the oldest literal meaning in English. Meaning "inside diameter of a gun barrel" is attested from 1580s. Barnhart remarks that Spanish calibre, Italian calibro "appear too late to act as intermediate forms" between the Arabic word and the French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caliber in Medicine

caliber cal·i·ber (kāl'ə-bər)
The diameter of the inside of a round cylinder, such as a tube.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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