[ kal-kyuh-luhs ]
/ ˈkæl kyə ləs /
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noun, plural cal·cu·li [kal-kyuh-lahy], /ˈkæl kyəˌlaɪ/, cal·cu·lus·es.
Mathematics. a method of calculation, especially one of several highly systematic methods of treating problems by a special system of algebraic notations, as differential or integral calculus.
Pathology. a stone, or concretion, formed in the gallbladder, kidneys, or other parts of the body.
Also called tartar. Dentistry. a hard, yellowish to brownish-black deposit on teeth formed largely through the mineralization of dead bacteria in dental plaques by the calcium salts in salivary secretions and subgingival transudates.
calculation; estimation or computation: the calculus of political appeal.
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Origin of calculus

1610–20; <Latin: pebble, small stone (used in reckoning), equivalent to calc- (stem of calx stone) + -ulus-ule
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use calculus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for calculus

/ (ˈkælkjʊləs) /

noun plural -luses
a branch of mathematics, developed independently by Newton and Leibniz. Both differential calculus and integral calculus are concerned with the effect on a function of an infinitesimal change in the independent variable as it tends to zero
any mathematical system of calculation involving the use of symbols
logic an uninterpreted formal systemCompare formal language (def. 2)
plural -li (-ˌlaɪ) pathol a stonelike concretion of minerals and salts found in ducts or hollow organs of the body

Word Origin for calculus

C17: from Latin: pebble, stone used in reckoning, from calx small stone, counter
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

Scientific definitions for calculus

[ kălkyə-ləs ]

Plural calculi (kălkyə-lī′) calculuses
The branch of mathematics that deals with limits and the differentiation and integration of functions of one or more variables. See more at calculus of variations differential calculus integral calculus.
A solid mass, usually composed of inorganic material, formed in a cavity or tissue of the body. Calculi are most commonly found in the gallbladder, kidney, or urinary bladder. Also called stone
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for calculus


The branch of mathematics, usually studied after algebra, that provides a natural method for describing gradual change.

notes for calculus

Most modern sciences use calculus.
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.