[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. calhoun,
  2. calhoun, john c.,
  3. calhoun, john caldwell,
  4. cali,
  5. caliban,
  6. calibrate,
  7. calibration,
  8. calibre,
  9. calice,
  10. caliceal

Also especially British, cal·i·bre.

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 formscal·i·bered; especially British, cal·i·bred, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caliber

Word Origin and History for caliber



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

Medicine definitions for caliber


[ kălə-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.