Where is 计算机 used for "computer", and where does it mean "calculator". In regions where it means "calculator" what is the word for "supercomputer" (assuming that 超级计算机 is not used there)?

  • most regions use 计算机 for computer,calculator is 计算器,it is less powerful than a computer.but some people use 计算机 for caculator.
    – macskuz
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 5:22
  • 计算机 is the formal form usage of 电脑
    – macskuz
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 5:23

3 Answers 3

  1. 计算机 is often used for computer in written language in mainland China. And 电脑 usually means Desktop computer in oral language.
  2. Calculator is 计算器 not 计算机 just as @StarCub said.
  3. And for laptop, it's 手提电脑, 笔记本电脑, or just called 笔记本(not the notebook here).
  4. Usually, 超级计算机 is used for supercomputer. But generally speaking, supercomputer often has its own name, just like 天河一号(Thiahe-1A).
  • 1
    There's a joke about 笔记本电脑. A school was holding an activity, saying everyone joined in will get a 笔记本电脑. But everyone just got a 笔记本. So students asked their teachers but the answer was "Put your head on the notebook, that's 笔记本垫脑". Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 18:32
  • @MikeManilone that's interesting XD
    – Kjuly
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 0:29

In mainland China

Calculator = 计算器

Computer = 计算机

电脑 is also used for Computer, especially Personal Computer. Mostly used in oral form.


In Taiwan, 计算机 is a pocket calculator, and 电脑 is any kind of computer (with a screen, keyboard, graphics card etc).

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