There are 2 main definitions of calm in English:

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calm 1

Pronunciation: /kä(l)m/


1(Of a person, action, or manner) not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other emotions: keep calm, she told herself his voice was calm
More example sentences
  • Everyone knew her time was come, but they tried to keep calm faces for her sake.
  • As I see it, it is vital that you keep calm and happy so our baby will have a chance to get off to a good start in life.
  • Always behave like a duck - keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like the devil underneath.
1.1(Of a place) peaceful, especially in contrast to recent violent activity: the city was reported to be calm, but army patrols remained
More example sentences
  • Despite his ill temper, however, every day that he spends in the calm atmosphere of the peaceful village seems to soften him.
  • Police disclosed that the town was calm and peaceful, and no complaints or damage from the tourists were reported so far.
  • Close your eyes as you breathe and picture a calm place.
2(Of the weather) pleasantly free from wind: the night was clear and calm
More example sentences
  • In New Zealand lake water can be stored while wind power is available and used in calm weather.
  • Some of these failures occur during perfectly calm weather.
  • When the wind blows, it can be a fearsome proposition, yet, like all links, it is vulnerable when the weather is calm and placid.
2.1(Of the sea) not disturbed by large waves.
Example sentences
  • Even in calm seas, the waves breaking over a reef are dangerous.
  • It was really nice just to follow the cliffs and look down onto a dead calm sea with a setting sun in the west giving the whole scene a nice warm glow.
  • I'd do a brief but deep meditation - start by visualising a calm sea and synchronising your breath to the waves.
tranquil, still, smooth, glassy, like a millpond
literary stilly


1The absence of violent or confrontational activity within a place or group: the elections proceeded in an atmosphere of relative calm [in singular]: an edgy calm reigned in the capital
More example sentences
  • In some cases, the woman's fatal response occurs during a period of relative calm in the violence such as after a battering incident has already occurred.
  • After a period of relative calm, things are beginning to get hectic all over again for Allison.
  • For gamblers used to the relative calm of Las Vegas, the feeding frenzy in Macao can be a bit of a shock.
1.1The absence of nervousness, agitation, or excitement in a person: his usual calm deserted him
More example sentences
  • The blog praised him today for finally showing some passion, something different than his usual state of eerie calm.
  • When he spoke, he's surrounded by his usual air of self-confidence, calm, indifference and superiority.
  • Vermeer, despite all his appearance of remoteness and calm, is strong meat.
composure, coolness, calmness, self-possession, sangfroid;
informal cool, unflappability
2The absence of wind: in the center of the storm calm prevailed
More example sentences
  • There has been sunshine, hail, rain, sleet, wind and calm all within minutes of each other, but more often at the same time; a tangible oxymoron.
  • For example, if you use the helium balloon with the light wind kite it will fly in that period between light winds and flat calm.
  • Some people dozed during this eerie calm only to be awakened by rushing, howling winds when the back side of the hurricane struck.
2.1Still air represented by force 0 on the Beaufort scale (less than 1 knot).
2.2 (often calms) An area of the sea without wind.
Example sentences
  • The big challenge ahead is the notorious Doldrum belt, where the trade winds in the northern hemisphere cancel out those to the south, producing a vast area of squalls and calms where boats can stall for days.
  • The crew's morale bottomed out when the Wave Warrior hit the Doldrums, an area near the equator that is notorious for its calms and its light, shifting winds.
  • Ask any fisherman what his greatest enemies are and high on the list will come midges, flat calms and leaking waders.


[with object]
1Make (someone) tranquil and quiet; soothe: I took him inside and tried to calm him down he lit a cigarette to calm his nerves (as adjective calming) a cup of tea will have a calming effect
More example sentences
  • After eventually calming the woman down and assuring her they mean no harm they take her to shelter in a nearby house.
  • Strangely, the song calmed people down and stopped them from running too far.
  • They helped and calmed the victims and certainly prevented the patients from deteriorating further.
1.1 [no object] (calm down) (Of a person) become tranquil and quiet: gradually I calmed down and lost my anxiety
More example sentences
  • It could be a matter of sitting in a quiet room, or walking in a park, or going to a church, and then gradually and gently calming down.
  • When the drugs take affect she calms down and stops yelling.
  • After calming down and finishing my homework, I went to bed.
compose oneself, recover/regain one's composure, control oneself, pull oneself together, simmer down, cool down/off, take it easy
informal get a grip, keep one's shirt on, chill (out), chillax, take a chill pill, cool one's jets, hang/stay loose, decompress


the calm before the storm

see storm.


Late Middle English: via one of the Romance languages from Greek kauma 'heat (of the day)'.

  • The origin of calm can be traced back to the idea of the heat of the midday sun in a hot climate, when people are indoors and everything is quiet and still. Calm came into English via Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese from Greek kauma ‘heat of the day’, and was perhaps also influenced by Latin calere ‘to be warm’.

Words that rhyme with calm

alarm, arm, Bairam, balm, barm, becalm, charm, embalm, farm, forearm, Guam, harm, imam, ma'am, malm, Montcalm, Notre-Dame, palm, psalm, qualm, salaam, smarm

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: calm

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There are 2 main definitions of calm in English:

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Pronunciation: /kɑːm/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


The Department of Conservation and Land Management: the reserve contains some 500 species of plants and is managed by CALM
More example sentences
  • They'll use a mobile offshore production unit and a floating storage and offloading vessel moored to a CALM buoy.
  • Divers must obtain permits from Western Australia's CALM department.
  • It is on the threatened species list and officers from CALM have been very diligent in keeping specimens alive.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: CALM

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