Definition of calm in US English:



  • 1Not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.

    ‘she had to keep calm at all costs’
    ‘his voice was calm’
    • ‘We have found that, when practising yoga we feel full of energy and, at the same time, quite calm and strong.’
    • ‘He wanted to be calm and strong in his expression of feeling to her.’
    • ‘Being subtle, you prefer to mask deep emotions with a calm surface.’
    • ‘I wanted to ask him a favor, and to do so I had to keep calm and clearheaded.’
    • ‘Hallie's expression remained the same, dangerously calm and indifferent.’
    • ‘It made for such an emotional and yet very calm routine.’
    • ‘As I see it, it is vital that you keep calm and happy so our baby will have a chance to get off to a good start in life.’
    • ‘Will was calm and dispassionate in stating something that is demonstrably false.’
    • ‘Dawn was as calm and expressionless as usual, but she looked at him in the eyes, nonetheless.’
    • ‘When someone has said those words to you, not in anger but in a calm rational manner, they never leave you.’
    • ‘She spoke with a calm voice, not surrendering any sign of the emotional state she'd been in just moments earlier.’
    • ‘‘Let us not get carried away by the emotions but look at it with a calm head in the context of the figures,’ he added.’
    • ‘Everyone knew her time was come, but they tried to keep calm faces for her sake.’
    • ‘She looked just as frightened as I felt, but I chose to remain calm and emotionless.’
    • ‘Natalia stared back with a cool and calm expression to combat Jade's anger flashing in all her features.’
    • ‘You mask passion with a calm surface and casual behavior.’
    • ‘His normally calm face was worried and his eyes flickered with anger.’
    • ‘‘I'm very calm and able to contain my emotion but my emotion is real,’ said Mr Procter.’
    • ‘Always behave like a duck - keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like the devil underneath.’
    • ‘The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body and a calm mind.’
    serene, tranquil, relaxed, unruffled, unperturbed, unflustered, undisturbed, unagitated, unmoved, unbothered, untroubled
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    1. 1.1 (of a place) peaceful, especially in contrast to recent violent activity.
      ‘the city was reported to be calm, but army patrols remained’
      • ‘It wasn't the biggest place in the town square but it had a more subtle and calm environment than most places, which was a definite plus.’
      • ‘Police disclosed that the town was calm and peaceful, and no complaints or damage from the tourists were reported so far.’
      • ‘The hotel is located amid six acres of stunningly landscaped gardens, creating a calm area amidst the hectic city.’
      • ‘Despite his ill temper, however, every day that he spends in the calm atmosphere of the peaceful village seems to soften him.’
      • ‘It's around this time Mum arrived at the hospital in a flurry of excitement and colour, dispelling the calm atmosphere Lucas and I had achieved.’
      • ‘The atmosphere is calm and low-key, with as few distractions as possible to enable the pupils to learn how to prepare and serve food.’
      • ‘Here, the cheerful houses of the calm suburbs were as intangible as the dreams of fortune and happiness were to the children of the ghetto.’
      • ‘It has agreed in principle to a forum on Europe in which the issues at stake will be debated in a calm atmosphere.’
      • ‘He slowly pushed open the door, to find a quiet, calm room in which he had not been for nearly a year.’
      • ‘They strive to create a calm environment to eliminate fear.’
      • ‘The Superdome started out as a pretty calm environment.’
      • ‘The calm atmosphere wraps around you like a comforting blanket as you find yourself reflecting upon the weekend.’
      • ‘Close your eyes as you breathe and picture a calm place.’
      • ‘In May, 2002, when Zhongdian was renamed Shangri-La, this formerly calm region gained overnight fame.’
      • ‘The building offers a calm haven in which to study art and enjoy views of the countryside.’
      • ‘Above all, the Robert Ogden School wants to create a safe, comfortable, and calm environment for its pupils.’
      • ‘Two weeks ago the couple announced they had split, saying they wanted the baby to be born into ‘a calm environment with no animosity between its parents’.’
      • ‘I will miss everything about Bulgaria because I like the calm atmosphere of Sofia and the good friendships built here.’
      • ‘They patrol these places at night, which ensures a calm atmosphere all over town - especially over festive periods and holidays.’
      • ‘The calm atmosphere however, was broken by a rustle ten feet away.’
  • 2(of the weather) pleasantly free from wind.

    ‘the night was clear and calm’
    • ‘We had the good fortune to travel through this area on our last visit on a calm day and the mountains were clearly reflected in the lake - a most impressive sight.’
    • ‘It was a calm summer night, and a strange smell was coming from the graveyard.’
    • ‘Some of these failures occur during perfectly calm weather.’
    • ‘Cool, calm weather helped firefighters battling a fire south of Denver, but hot weather was expected yesterday afternoon.’
    • ‘Initially, nature seemed to provide some buffer with four days of calm weather that slowed the spread of the oil.’
    • ‘It's been a calm day so far, but now the wind kicks up.’
    • ‘Good planning is based on dallying in Florida until a relatively calm weather pattern has established itself.’
    • ‘Despite the area's nickname, the weather looks rather calm.’
    • ‘He was drowned while crossing from Chester Bay to Dublin, his ship having struck a rock and foundered in calm weather.’
    • ‘In the Windhoek area, the generally calm weather of the past few days has been accompanied by clear, still nights.’
    • ‘I felt the warmth of the Arctic sun on a calm summer's day, the smooth hide of a newly skinned Harp seal, and the insulating fur of the Polar bear.’
    • ‘It seemed like a perfect place to free your mind from all of life's troubles and just stare out at the open, calm sky that wasn't too far off.’
    • ‘They only occur in certain and very specific calm weather conditions.’
    • ‘In New Zealand lake water can be stored while wind power is available and used in calm weather.’
    • ‘When the wind blows, it can be a fearsome proposition, yet, like all links, it is vulnerable when the weather is calm and placid.’
    • ‘This is why high-pressure systems tend to bring bright, sunny days with calm weather.’
    • ‘They proved adequate in calm weather, but rolled appallingly in rough seas.’
    • ‘In winter the visibility can be excellent after calm spells of weather.’
    • ‘During calm summer evenings, air next to the ground surface will be cooled and drift down-slope.’
    • ‘One brilliantly calm, cool summer evening, one of the trustees decides to take us around the campus.’
    windless, still, tranquil, quiet, serene, peaceful, pacific, undisturbed, restful, balmy, halcyon
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    1. 2.1 (of the sea) not disturbed by large waves.
      • ‘Even in calm seas, the waves breaking over a reef are dangerous.’
      • ‘We sailed off into the nothingness of the flat calm sea.’
      • ‘The weekend event opened Saturday to light wind and calm water, and competitors took full advantage.’
      • ‘In the second decade Patinir established a formula for the painting of calm seas, while interest in depicting stormy seas came later.’
      • ‘Rogue waves that occur on relatively calm seas are usually generated by storms hundreds of miles away.’
      • ‘Over 300,000 were rescued from the beaches, and brought safely across exceptionally calm seas.’
      • ‘The fog, though, doesn't slow the vessel down, as it skims across a calm sea at breakneck speed.’
      • ‘The light winds and calm water conditions made fishing difficult at times, but large numbers of fish were seen moving.’
      • ‘The sun was not visible, and the sky was an oyster pink, the water of the calm sea similar in shade.’
      • ‘The waves were passing under us and the ocean was very calm.’
      • ‘Children waded into the calm sea, or played on the smooth, round rocks on the beach.’
      • ‘The two ships floated easily together upon the calm sea.’
      • ‘The sea was quite calm and the short boat ride very invigorating with the breeze blowing in our faces.’
      • ‘It was really nice just to follow the cliffs and look down onto a dead calm sea with a setting sun in the west giving the whole scene a nice warm glow.’
      • ‘The calm sea helped the families return almost afresh.’
      • ‘I'd do a brief but deep meditation - start by visualising a calm sea and synchronising your breath to the waves.’
      • ‘The first week, they sailed the luxurious 44-foot Hazana east in calm seas.’
      • ‘The ship rocked slowly as the calm sea moved beneath them.’
      • ‘At Pendennis, I slithered from the rocks into a flat, calm sea.’
      • ‘One of the two boats bobs up and down on the calm sea.’
      tranquil, still, like a millpond, smooth, glassy, flat, motionless, waveless, unagitated, storm-free
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  • 1The absence of violent or confrontational activity within a place or group.

    ‘the elections proceeded in an atmosphere of relative calm’
    in singular ‘an edgy calm reigned in the capital’
    • ‘The attacks came amid a surge of border violence following months of calm.’
    • ‘After a period of relative calm, things are beginning to get hectic all over again for Allison.’
    • ‘The dons are saying that they have restored peace to the area and calm will reign henceforth.’
    • ‘Several months of relative calm ensued, to the relief of the exhausted French.’
    • ‘Eventually, relative calm is restored and negotiations resume.’
    • ‘In the final analysis they want peace, calm, Zen and relaxation.’
    • ‘Talks to stabilize a shaky truce have led to relative calm interspersed with intense bouts of fighting and air strikes.’
    • ‘The relative calm in the region was an irony not lost on some newspaper commentators.’
    • ‘For gamblers used to the relative calm of Las Vegas, the feeding frenzy in Macao can be a bit of a shock.’
    • ‘The relative calm in the camps means the process of healing can begin.’
    • ‘Lunch passed in relative calm, for Charlie tried hard to do nothing that would upset her father in such a way that would send him off to the bedroom for another rest.’
    • ‘Forecasters warn, however, that this year's relative calm is no reason for coastal residents to drop their guard.’
    • ‘This we were able to do in an atmosphere of calm and peace.’
    • ‘In some cases, the woman's fatal response occurs during a period of relative calm in the violence such as after a battering incident has already occurred.’
    • ‘With the political deadlock, relative calm returned.’
    • ‘Moments of relative calm often pre-empt more abrupt and ferocious constructions.’
    • ‘I took advantage of the relative calm and went to find the telephone.’
    • ‘By May 1918, Finland had been restored to relative calm.’
    • ‘Thirty years of relative calm followed before the devastating Hurricane Andrew in 1992.’
    • ‘Those measures led to a decade of relative calm and considerable socio-economic development.’
    tranquillity, stillness, calmness, quiet, quietness, quietude, peace, peacefulness, serenity, silence, hush
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    1. 1.1 The absence of nervousness, agitation, or excitement in a person.
      ‘his usual calm deserted him’
      • ‘He affected the dazed calm of a man beyond grief and outrage.’
      • ‘The forest returned to its usual calm.’
      • ‘The words stung, and I forced my face into its normal smooth calm, determined not to let her know that she could hurt me so easily.’
      • ‘Ignoring their screams, I tried to maintain some semblance of calm, despite the storm raging about inside.’
      • ‘Vermeer, despite all his appearance of remoteness and calm, is strong meat.’
      • ‘I bit my tongue until I regained a little bit of calm, then managed to force a smile.’
      • ‘It communicates a tremendous sense of calm, love, and longing for the infinite.’
      • ‘Brandon's voice was a bit tighter than his usual calm.’
      • ‘Gordon - whose gentle, unhurried manner lulls one into a feeling of calm - says a placid nature is essential for the job, but he is realistic about the rewards it brings.’
      • ‘He was typically in a much better mood than he had experienced earlier despite his usual reserved calm.’
      • ‘In the face of such scurrility, the dignity and calm of Othello emerge with great force when he takes the stage in the second scene.’
      • ‘The horse looked at him with her usual calm, but he was certain she still felt the strain of the long ride from Ashford Manor.’
      • ‘My life is a roller coaster of fear and fearlessness, of calm and panic.’
      • ‘It was the first time Graham had seen his brother lose his usual calm.’
      • ‘Webster is aware of the kudos to be earned, but is approaching this season with the usual calm of a seasoned battler.’
      • ‘When he spoke, he's surrounded by his usual air of self-confidence, calm, indifference and superiority.’
      • ‘Most have the impassive calm of volunteers in a medical trial as though nothing were at stake.’
      • ‘The blog praised him today for finally showing some passion, something different than his usual state of eerie calm.’
      • ‘Like Meryl Streep, she can convey the turmoil beneath an implacable surface, and when Cathy's calm and control desert her she is devastatingly believable.’
      • ‘What he didn't realise was that her calm was steelier than usual because she'd just found out she was pregnant with her first child and had decided that she was not going to let anything stress her out.’
      composure, coolness, calmness, self-possession, sangfroid, presence of mind, poise, aplomb, self-control
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  • 2The absence of wind.

    ‘in the center of the storm calm prevailed’
    • ‘Some people dozed during this eerie calm only to be awakened by rushing, howling winds when the back side of the hurricane struck.’
    • ‘The crew has been called out in all weathers - from absolute calm to hurricane force winds - and has saved many lives and also had to deal with tragedies.’
    • ‘As the eye of the cyclone crossed the coast at Coolangatta there was a brief calm, and air pressure dropped to 973 hPa.’
    • ‘There has been sunshine, hail, rain, sleet, wind and calm all within minutes of each other, but more often at the same time; a tangible oxymoron.’
    • ‘For example, if you use the helium balloon with the light wind kite it will fly in that period between light winds and flat calm.’
    stillness, tranquillity, calmness, lull, silence, windlessness, oppressiveness, heaviness
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    1. 2.1 Still air represented by force 0 on the Beaufort scale (less than 1 knot).
    2. 2.2often calms An area of the sea without wind.
      • ‘His early timekeepers were controlled by pendulums but, in anything but a flat calm, their going was most erratic.’
      • ‘We progress through days of calms, settling down into the sea's rhythm, sleeping on three-hour watches, ignoring the rasp of ropes in wooden blocks, the whistling kettle, the glow of the paraffin light in the saloon, or the biting cold.’
      • ‘The big challenge ahead is the notorious Doldrum belt, where the trade winds in the northern hemisphere cancel out those to the south, producing a vast area of squalls and calms where boats can stall for days.’
      • ‘Conditions will range from the calms and energy-sapping heat of the northern hemisphere to the icebergs, storms and monumental seas of the southern oceans.’
      • ‘Vows made in a storm are forgotten in calms.’
      • ‘With conditions ranging from the unpredictable calms of the doldrums to the gale force winds and icebergs of the southern oceans, the Global Challenge is certainly not one for the faint-hearted.’
      • ‘Ask any fisherman what his greatest enemies are and high on the list will come midges, flat calms and leaking waders.’
      • ‘He figured on raising nothing more than his drinking elbow on the boat unless there was a flat calm and the safety of a well protected harbour close by.’
      • ‘This time conditions were completely different with a flat calm and a rather dull day.’
      • ‘The crew's morale bottomed out when the Wave Warrior hit the Doldrums, an area near the equator that is notorious for its calms and its light, shifting winds.’
      • ‘Chairat managed two races, encountering wind shifts of 180 degrees, alternating between storms and dead calms.’
      • ‘He raved about the ocean, about storms and calms and sudden rain-squalls out of a blue sky, and somewhere a fair woman spinning silk with a crystal spindle.’
      • ‘Sailors in a dead calm know the awful loneliness of the open sea.’
      • ‘France sent a massive sixty-four-vessel armada to Louisbourg, only to have it disrupted en route by storms, calms, and disease.’


[with object]
  • 1Make (someone) tranquil and quiet; soothe.

    ‘I took him inside and tried to calm him down’
    ‘he lit a cigarette to calm his nerves’
    ‘a cup of tea will have a calming effect’
    • ‘Strangely, the song calmed people down and stopped them from running too far.’
    • ‘This greatly calmed him, and soon he was able to make Sarah just a shadow in the back of his mind.’
    • ‘They were all cussing and swearing, but Doug calmed him down by just letting him vent until he had had his say.’
    • ‘Anne's cool demeanor immediately calmed her but not her emphatic reply.’
    • ‘Franky's touch calmed him though as he took his eyes off of Brian to pull Franky into a hug.’
    • ‘The incident ended after several policemen calmed the crowd and dismissed them.’
    • ‘As crazy as it may sound at such a moment filled with terror and excitement, she calmed me.’
    • ‘That day, any time I got scared she was holding my hand and calming me without even realizing it.’
    • ‘Residents at the Soteria Project were treated with a quiet, calming environment.’
    • ‘They told how he calmed the people and consoled them with his unshakable belief in God.’
    • ‘It calmed me so much so that I was totally unalarmed when I saw a large black spider go scuttling by along the wainscotting.’
    • ‘They helped and calmed the victims and certainly prevented the patients from deteriorating further.’
    • ‘The doctor restrained and calmed her but she attacked him again, causing security staff to come to his aid.’
    • ‘After eventually calming the woman down and assuring her they mean no harm they take her to shelter in a nearby house.’
    • ‘To some extent, the extra responsibility calmed him down, although he still had his moments.’
    • ‘Then, to her shock, Azure heard a gentle, mellow voice in her mind, calming her.’
    • ‘She ignored the dark looks that were being sent in her direction and concentrated on calming the little boy down.’
    • ‘Mrs Payne also described how she calmed her husband down after discovering he had gained access to a shotgun.’
    • ‘The tranquil voice of her aunt calmed Elizabeth and she forgot all about her troubles with Odessa and Marilee.’
    • ‘Another friend calmed Smith down and he then invited everybody back to his home.’
    soothe, pacify, placate, mollify, appease, conciliate
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    1. 1.1calm downno object (of a person) become tranquil and quiet.
      ‘gradually I calmed down and lost my anxiety’
      • ‘I was very worried over the weekend, but I'm calming down a bit.’
      • ‘I think I'm finally calming down a little bit, although I do still feel somewhat keyed up.’
      • ‘Charles is still angry about it and according to his manager, won't talk to anyone until he calms down.’
      • ‘After a while, she goes and after a while Harley calms down again.’
      • ‘The postal worker calms down and resumes stamping packages.’
      • ‘You will find as the mind calms down, the breath and heart will become quieter and calmer.’
      • ‘After he talks for a while he generally calms down and we have a good chat.’
      • ‘‘Look, I believe that women are not just sex objects,’ he continues, calming down slightly.’
      • ‘After calming down and finishing my homework, I went to bed.’
      • ‘Getting through the early puppy phase was hard-going, particularly for mom, but thankfully he's calming down a lot now and mostly not acting quite so psychotic.’
      • ‘She calms down only when the boy's mother explains to her what kind of villainy her father played in their life.’
      • ‘When the drugs take affect she calms down and stops yelling.’
      • ‘Ben really wants to go to another family during the week because he really calms down and enjoys coming home for the weekends.’
      • ‘I went down and sat next to her, my arm round her shoulders as she gradually calmed down again.’
      • ‘As things look right now, Canadians better hope he calms down.’
      • ‘It could be a matter of sitting in a quiet room, or walking in a park, or going to a church, and then gradually and gently calming down.’
      • ‘He starts every episode all fired up about putting the shopkeeper away, but usually calms down by the end, even though everybody's dead by then.’
      • ‘After five minutes, and after he uses my tissues, he calms down.’
      • ‘Issuing an apology after calming down, he said he had been deeply provoked and in the heat of the moment lost his temper.’
      • ‘The officers bring him to the patrol car, and the family calms down, but still they ask the officers for an explanation.’
      compose oneself, recover one's composure, regain one's composure, control oneself, recover one's self-control, regain one's self-control, pull oneself together, keep one's head, simmer down, cool down, cool off, take it easy
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Late Middle English: via one of the Romance languages from Greek kauma ‘heat (of the day)’.