Definition of calculating in US English:



  • Acting in a scheming and ruthlessly determined way.

    ‘he was a coolly calculating, ruthless man’
    • ‘At one extreme, imagine genetically engineered minds devoid of conscience or empathy and at the same time highly calculating and ruthless in the pursuit of their own desires.’
    • ‘Both of these ladies bided their time and proved to be quite calculating and ruthless.’
    • ‘So our military has to be very shrewd, very calculating and I think that they are laying out those plans.’
    • ‘Mr Latham said it suggested ‘a devious and calculating mind well able to think about what he needed to do to distract attention away from himself’.’
    • ‘When viewers meet her, Claire is a determined, rather calculating career woman, an ambitious lawyer working for the Prosecution Service.’
    • ‘It is difficult to judge a man as calculating when he seems so natural.’
    • ‘He paused for a moment, with a spreading calculating smile designed to draw the others in.’
    • ‘It was decidedly hard to do with Mr Cunningham's cold, judging, calculating eyes were staring at us.’
    • ‘Underneath the mane of blonde hair was a ruthless calculating brain.’
    • ‘There's something very calculating and manipulative about how he does things.’
    • ‘Mrs Cunningham gave me a calculating look over my sketchpad that was filled with spite and dislike.’
    • ‘The movie presents her not just as ambitious talent; we also see the shrewdly calculating side that propelled her into the spotlight.’
    • ‘Whatever the reason, his public persona seems guarded and calculating and his repeated protestations of humility usually fall flat.’
    • ‘Likewise, the promotion of the controversy by national manufacturers' associations has been calculating and disingenuous.’
    • ‘They're cunning, they're devious, they're calculating.’
    • ‘Strydom was at his shrewd and most calculating best.’
    • ‘This is not the undertaking of a benevolent nation helping another in the spirit of friendship and trust, but a cold calculating act designed to crush the human spirit and bring about the death of hope.’
    • ‘I was quite struck by the image used for that tour, because it does not seem an accident, it seems very well designed in a calculating fashion.’
    • ‘Clearly the robots take the long-term view on this one, as they would, what with being utilitarian calculating machines designed for the preservation of life.’
    • ‘Indeed, I am concerned that without such a change the whole bill looks more cynical and calculating than the Minister probably intends.’
    cunning, crafty, wily, shrewd, scheming, devious, designing, conniving, manipulative, machiavellian, artful, guileful, slippery, slick, sly, disingenuous, unscrupulous
    View synonyms