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.

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)

calibered; especially British, calibred, adjective

4. worth, distinction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
calibre or caliber (ˈkælɪbə)
1.  the diameter of a cylindrical body, esp the internal diameter of a tube or the bore of a firearm
2.  the diameter of a shell or bullet
3.  ability; distinction: a musician of high calibre
4.  personal character: a man of high calibre
[C16: from Old French, from Italian calibro, from Arabic qālib shoemaker's last, mould]
caliber or caliber
[C16: from Old French, from Italian calibro, from Arabic qālib shoemaker's last, mould]
'calibred or caliber
'calibered or caliber

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1560s, "degree of merit or importance," from M.Fr. calibre (14c.), perhaps ultimately from Arabic qalib "a mold, last," perhaps from Gk. kalopodion "a shoemaker's last," lit. "little wooden foot," from kalon "wood" + podos gen. of pous "foot" (see foot). Arabic also used the
word in the sense "mold for casting bullets," which is the original literal meaning in English, though the earliest cited sense is a figurative one. Meaning "inside diameter of a gun barrel" is attested from 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Encyclopedia Britannica


in firearms, unit of measure indicating the interior, or bore, diameter of a gun barrel and the diameter of the gun's ammunition; or the length of a gun expressed in relation to its interior diameter (now used only of naval and coastal defense guns). See bore

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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.
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