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[kal-uh-ber] /ˈkæl ə bər/
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.
Origin of caliber
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)
Related forms
calibered; especially British, calibred, adjective
4. worth, distinction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for calibre
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is such an enterprise as should please a ready swordsman of your calibre, Fortunio.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • It is a relief to have an outsider of Hankey's calibre on the spot.

  • He could well afford to be lenient to a rebel of his calibre.

  • Grandeur, even in infamy, is utterly inconsistent with the calibre of the man.

    Napoleon the Little Victor Hugo
  • All the same, I am not very sweet on love matches for men of Orange's calibre.

    Robert Orange John Oliver Hobbes
  • This is a universal standard of measuring a man's character and calibre.

  • Guns of this calibre the Warrior and her class were proof against.

    Man on the Ocean R.M. Ballantyne
  • A man of Scott Brenton's calibre would do no harm by his preaching.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
British Dictionary definitions for calibre


the diameter of a cylindrical body, esp the internal diameter of a tube or the bore of a firearm
the diameter of a shell or bullet
ability; distinction: a musician of high calibre
personal character: a man of high calibre
Derived Forms
calibred, (US) calibered, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Old French, from Italian calibro, from Arabic qālib shoemaker's last, mould
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 calibre

chiefly British English spelling of caliber (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.



1560s, "degree of merit or importance," a figurative use from Middle French calibre (late 15c.), apparently ultimately from Arabic qalib "a mold for casting." Arabic also used the word in the sense "mold for casting bullets," which is the oldest literal meaning in English. Meaning "inside diameter of a gun barrel" is attested from 1580s. Barnhart remarks that Spanish calibre, Italian calibro "appear too late to act as intermediate forms" between the Arabic word and the French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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calibre in Medicine

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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