mathematical method of treating problems by the use of a system of algebraic notation, 1660s, from Latin calculus "reckoning, account," originally "pebble used as a reckoning counter," diminutive of calx (genitive calcis) "limestone" (see chalk (n.)). Modern mathematical sense is a shortening of differential calculus.

In medicine, the word also has been used from 1732 to mean kidney stones, etc., then generally for "concretion occurring accidentally in the animal body," such as dental plaque.