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

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin; see calculate, -tor
Related formsmin·i·cal·cu·la·tor, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for calculator

computer, PDA

Examples from the Web for calculator

Contemporary Examples of calculator

Historical Examples of calculator

  • 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.


    Clifford Donald Simak

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


    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

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

calculator in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.