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[kal-kyuh-ley-ter] /ˈkæl kyəˌleɪ tər/
a person who calculates or computes.
Also called calculating machine. a small electronic or mechanical device that performs calculations, requiring manual action for each individual opertion.
a person who operates such a machine.
a set of tables that facilitates calculation.
Origin of calculator
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin; see calculate, -tor
Related forms
minicalculator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for calculator
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yard after yard of calculator paper was filled with equations and computations.

    Spacehounds of IPC Edward Elmer Smith
  • She had a figure like an ironing board and the soul of a Ramsden calculator.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • There were ten calculator tables here, two of them in operation now.

    The Ultimate Weapon John Wood Campbell
  • He strode to the desk, reached out one hand and drew a calculator near.

    Empire Clifford Donald Simak
  • "Now you're making a joke," Meta said serenely as she fed a figure into the calculator.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for calculator


a device for performing mathematical calculations, esp an electronic device that can be held in the hand
a person or thing that calculates
a set of tables used as an aid to calculations
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 calculator

late 14c., "mathematician, one who calculates," from Latin calculator, from calculatus, past participle of calculare "to reckon, compute," from calculus (see calculus). Of mechanical adding machine contraptions, from 1784. Of electronic ones, from 1946.

Electronic calculator uses 18,000 tubes to solve complex problems ["Scientific American" headline, June 1946]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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calculator in Culture

calculator definition

An electronic device for performing automatic mathematical computations, usually controlled by a keyboard. Some are actually small computers, with limited memory, that allow the user to use simple programs.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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