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[kahm; older use kam; spelling pronunciation kahlm] /kɑm; older use kæm; spelling pronunciation kɑlm/
adjective, calmer, calmest.
without rough motion; still or nearly still:
a calm sea.
not windy or stormy:
a calm day.
free from excitement or passion; tranquil:
a calm face; a calm manner.
freedom from motion or disturbance; stillness.
Meteorology. wind speed of less than 1 mile per hour (0.447 m/sec).
freedom from agitation, excitement, or passion; tranquillity; serenity:
She faced the possibility of death with complete calm.
verb (used with object)
to make calm:
He calmed the excited dog.
verb (used without object)
to become calm (usually followed by down).
Origin of calm
1350-1400; (noun, adj.) Middle English calm(e) < Italian calma (noun), calmo (adj.) < Late Latin cauma summer heat (with l perhaps from Latin calēre to be hot) < Greek kaûma (stem kaumat-) burning heat; akin to kaíein to burn (see caustic); (v.) Middle English calmen < Italian calmare, derivative of the noun
Related forms
calmingly, adverb
calmly, adverb
calmness, noun
quasi-calm, adjective
quasi-calmly, adverb
uncalm, adjective
uncalmly, adverb
uncalmness, noun
1. quiet, motionless. 3. placid, peaceful, serene, self-possessed. Calm, collected, composed, cool imply the absence of agitation. Calm implies an unruffled state, especially under disturbing conditions: calm in a crisis. Collected implies complete inner command of oneself, usually as the result of an effort: He remained collected in spite of the excitement. One who is composed has or has gained dignified self-possession: pale but composed. Cool implies clarity of judgment along with apparent absence of strong feeling or excitement, especially in circumstances of danger or strain: so cool that he seemed calm. 7. still, quiet, tranquilize; allay, assuage, mollify, soothe, soften.
2. tempestuous. 3. agitated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for calmest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The problems are of very great difficulty, and call for the calmest consideration and clearest foresight.

  • She assisted the surgeon in the most skilful but the calmest manner.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • Rob and Skookie were perhaps the calmest of the four, and Rob undertook to do what he could to encourage his companions.

    The Young Alaskans Emerson Hough
  • He was easily the calmest of us all as we crowded about him at a respectful distance.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • He felt that his course of action must be shaped by the calmest judgment, if lise were to be rescued from her surroundings.

    Blue Goose Frank Lewis Nason
  • James Moore, standing in front of them all, was the calmest there.

    Bob, Son of Battle Alfred Ollivant
  • Even on the calmest day I could not have been heard, and fully understanding this, I held my peace.

    The Boy Tar Mayne Reid
  • Of the three, Claire Keith was the calmest, the most self-possessed.

  • For a brief moment the calmest are carried away by intensity of patriotic feeling.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
British Dictionary definitions for calmest


almost without motion; still: a calm sea
(meteorol) of force 0 on the Beaufort scale; without wind
not disturbed, agitated, or excited; under control: he stayed calm throughout the confusion
tranquil; serene: a calm voice
an absence of disturbance or rough motion; stillness
absence of wind
(often foll by down) to make or become calm
Derived Forms
calmly, adverb
calmness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French calme, from Old Italian calma, from Late Latin cauma heat, hence a rest during the heat of the day, from Greek kauma heat, from kaiein to burn
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 calmest



late 14c., from Old French calme "tranquility, quiet," traditionally from Old Italian calma, from Late Latin cauma "heat of the mid-day sun" (in Italy, a time when everything rests and is still), from Greek kauma "heat" (especially of the sun), from kaiein "to burn" (see caustic). Spelling influenced by Latin calere "to be hot." Figurative application to social or mental conditions is 16c.


late 14c., from Old French calme, carme "stillness, quiet, tranquility," from the adjective (see calm (adj.)).


late 14c., from Old French calmer or from calm (adj.). Related: Calmed; calming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for calmest


Children Affected with Lymphatic Malformations
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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