He comes in last: I am not looking at the arch, yet I see him enter. I try to concentrate my attention on those netting-needles, on the meshes of the purse I am forming—I wish to think only of the work I have in my hands, to see only the silver beads and silk threads that lie in my lap; whereas, I distinctly behold his figure, and I inevitably recall the moment when I last saw it; just after I had rendered him, what he deemed, an essential service, and he, holding my hand, and looking down on my face, surveyed me with eyes that revealed a heart full and eager to overflow; in whose emotions I had a part. How near had I approached him at that moment! What had occurred since, calculated to change his and my relative positions?
(Jane Eyre)

What’s the meaning of ‘calculated’ in the example?


Rather than in any way indicating calculation or planning, calculated here serves as a synonym of apt or likely. OED 1 shows the following two senses of calculated:

  1. Reckoned, estimated, devised with forethought
  2. Fitted, suited, fit, apt; of a nature or character proper or likely to. [eg] 1722 De Foe ... The state of life that I was now in was ... perfectly calculated to make a man completely happy.

It is the second sense that applies in the quoted passage.


It means "planned or intended for a specific purpose".

The most common meaning of "calculate" is to find the result of a mathematical problem. Like, "We entered all the numbers into the computer and it calculated the results." When someone says that an action that a person took was "calculated to do X", he means that it was very carefully and deliberately planned, like the person had turned the whole situation into a math problem and then calculated how to get the desired outcome.


I think that last sentence could be rewritten like this:

What are the things calculated to change his and my relative positions that happened since that moment?

I hope this is what you were asking and that it makes sense :)

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