from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make a loan translation from (a word in another language).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • See calk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb See 2d calk, v. t.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A word or phrase in a language formed by word-for-word or morpheme-by-morpheme translation of a word in another language.
  • verb transitive To adopt (a word or phrase) from one language to another by semantic translation of its parts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an expression introduced into one language by translating it from another language


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from calquer, to trace, copy, from Italian calcare, to press, from Latin calcāre, to tread on, from calx, heel.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French calque ("calque/loan translation"), from French calquer ("to trace"), from Italian calcare.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word calque.


  • Ringbom also suggests that misspellings, borrowings and coinage are transfer of form while calque is transfer of meaning.

    E is for Error « An A-Z of ELT 2010

  • Somehow I have a feeling that конъюнктурный in this case is a calque from the English conjecture DOSTOEVSKY AND RUSSIAN PUNCTUATION. 2005

  • Somehow I have a feeling that конъюнктурный in this case is a calque from the English conjecture, in the sense that the previous editors presumed to be able to second-guess how Dostoyevsky's text would have looked were he to have written it at the time of republication, somewhat like those "plain text" editions of Shakespeare. DOSTOEVSKY AND RUSSIAN PUNCTUATION. 2005

  • 2. You don't seem to have paid attention to the word "calque" in my comment. GAELIC IN THE EU. 2004

  • This is borne out by empirical research (e.g Olsen 1999) CLI researchers tend to classify Lexical transfer as misspellings, borrowings, coinage and calque.

    E is for Error « An A-Z of ELT 2010

  • The word "bushmeat" is a word-for-word translation or calque of the French phrase viande de brousse.

    Week in Words Erin McKean 2011

  • Dr. G, in the NT as in the Septuagint, it's regarded to be a calque from Hebrew and Aramaic.

    And now for something completely different DC 2010

  • I have heard that “are you coming with?” is a calque of German “kommst du mit?”

    Where are you (at)? « Motivated Grammar 2008

  • That is to say, Sumerian Utu-zi 'Life-breath of the sun' would have become a partial calque Ut(a)-napishtim which would be reinterpreted by scribes and priests to mean 'he found (uta-) life-breath (napishtim)' (nb. the replacement of Sum. utu 'sun' with Bab. ūta 'found') and thus back into Sumerian with the reformulated Zi-ud-sura 'Life of long days', now implying a character who has found immortality.

    Archive 2009-11-01 2009

  • Home » For Translators » What is a calque?

    What is a calque? 2009


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A lexical borrowing strategy in which the recipient language, rather than copying the phonological form of a word or term, translates each morpheme directly into the native language, creating an equivalent idiom. For example, early translators of the Bible in English rendered the Latin term remorsus "remorse" as again-bite" and the Latin term reflectere "reflect" as "again-shine."

    June 20, 2007

  • I like this word because it is short, almost clipped, yet expresses an idea that is both very specific and reflective of the general human tendency of borrowing and creating patterns. Though it's a term from linguistics and etymology, I suspect it can apply to other areas of human thought as well, where something alien is domesticated in such a way that its alien roots are hidden, are expressed only obliquely through translation.

    November 29, 2007

  • "Christine's Chemin de long estude is a calque of Dante's "lungo studio," that is, Christine explicitly conceives her literary career as a learned continuation in the vernacular of the poetic archievement of Vergil."

    - Earl Jeffrey Richards's Introduction to Christine de Pizan's Book of the City of Ladies, pp xlvii-xlviii of the Persea books 1998 paperback

    January 23, 2016