Definition of calculate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkalkjʊleɪt/


[with object]
1Determine (the amount or number of something) mathematically: the program can calculate the number of words that will fit in the space available [with clause]: local authorities have calculated that full training would cost around £5,000 per teacher
More example sentences
  • As most deals do not go through agencies, it is difficult to calculate the total number of hotels sold.
  • This impression can be assessed quantitatively by calculating a likelihood ratio as before.
  • Given the number of coffee cups to dispense, the program is required to calculate the amount and display to the user.
compute, work out, reckon, figure, enumerate, determine, evaluate, quantify, assess, cost, put a figure on;
add up, add together, count up, tally, total, totalize;
calibrate, gauge;
British  tot up
rare cast
1.1Determine by reasoning, experience, or common sense; reckon or judge: I was bright enough to calculate that she had been on vacation
More example sentences
  • She'd had enough to drink to take the edge off of her fear, but not enough to be unable to calculate.
  • I am not quick enough to calculate that for you now but that is the way I see it.
  • Well, that may all be right if the judge had calculated the damage to the reversion by say reference to comparable sales.
1.2 [no object] (calculate on) Include as an essential element in one’s plans.
Example sentences
  • The figures were calculated on a pro-forma basis, assuming its restructuring had taken effect at the start of the year.
  • He points to the well-known ingratitude of princes and quotes George Washington: ‘There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate on real favours from nation to nation.’
  • All other bands are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on whether they fall into a higher or lower band.
expect, anticipate;
reckon, bargain, rely, depend, count, bank;
take as read
North American informal figure on
2 (usually be calculated to do something) Intend (an action) to have a particular effect: his last words were calculated to wound her
More example sentences
  • The sanctions are calculated to go into effect on the eve of a presidential election year.
  • Odds ratios and corresponding confidence intervals were calculated to measure the main effect of diabetes on eating disorders.
  • Confidence intervals were also calculated to confirm the effect size.
intend, mean, design, plan, aim
3 [with clause] US dialect Suppose or believe: I calculate it’s pretty difficult to git edication down there
More example sentences
  • After accumulating enough data, we calculated that each person spent at least a full minute in a stall.
  • Each experiment was calculated from 12 to 24 independent cultures and at least two independent experiments were done per strain.



Pronunciation: /ˈkalkjʊlətɪv/
Example sentences
  • Since this is the chief finding of the humanities in the 20th century, I would bet that in the 21st century it will start revising our calculative, allocative, easily-socialist view of the economy.
  • Needless to say, sometimes I get disappointed with friends who do not realize or are not calculative enough to see my ‘generosity’.
  • If you want to make your life more valuable and fun-filled then don't be calculative in each and every single conversation you have with others.


Late Middle English: from late Latin calculat- 'counted', from the verb calculare, from calculus 'a small pebble (as used on an abacus)'.

  • The Latin word calculus meant ‘a small pebble’, specifically one used on an abacus. This is the base of Latin calculare ‘to count’, from which calculate comes. Calculator (Late Middle English) first meant a person who calculates, just as a computer was a person who computes. Calculus has become an English word in its own right, as the name of a branch of mathematics, since the late 17th century.

Words that rhyme with calculate


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cal¦cu|late

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