As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through (, and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting:

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

Calculated on?

I need help..
Is the following correct, can one say:

  • That something new "wasn't calculated on"? -
    Or maybe "wasn't calculated for"?

Trying to say that something happened that we didn't anticipate.. "Something happened that wasn't calculated on/for."
(Note, it's important that the word "calculated" is being used, if it even is okay to use the word calculate as a synonym to anticipate?)
Maybe this is Swenglish? haha :)


  • The OED lists separate meanings for calculate for and calculate on.

    Calculate for is now used only in the PASSIVE be calculated for + NOUN PHRASE.
    On this construction and the similar be calculated to + INFINITIVE,
    calculated means 'arranged, designed, prepared, adjusted, adapted, or fitted for a purpose'.
    The two most recent OED example quotations are:

    1816 The coach was calculated to carry six regular passengers.
    1848 The college is calculated for the reception of sixty students.

    Calculate on is much closer to 'anticipate'. The four quotations are:

    1802 We calculate on your taking the lead in promoting subscriptions.
    1807 All those may almost be calculated upon.
    1829 Security in calculating upon the future.
    1873 We had calculated on a quiet Sunday.

    That said, the entry for calculate hasn't been updated since 1989, and all the examples cited are from the nineteenth century.
    So it's possible that usage has changed recently.

Sign In or Register to comment.