an·​satz | \ ˈän-ˌsäts How to pronounce ansatz (audio) \
plural ansatzes

Definition of ansatz

: an initial estimate of the solution to a mathematical or technical problem that is used to guide work to a more precise answer This schematic picture suggests that the surface flux distribution is coupled to the solar rotation. It is an appealing ansatz for describing part of the temperature data in Fig. 1B.— J. R. Kuhn et al.

Examples of ansatz in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There are many different types of tensor networks, but among the most useful is the one known by the acronym MERA (multiscale entanglement renormalization ansatz). Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "How Quantum Pairs Stitch Space-Time," 28 Apr. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ansatz.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ansatz

1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ansatz

borrowed from German, "beginning, initial statement, estimate," noun derivative of ansetzen "to put to, fix, set, estimate," from an "on, at" (going back to Old High German ana) + setzen "to set, place," going back to Old High German sezzen — more at on entry 1, set entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ansatz

Time Traveler for ansatz

Time Traveler

The first known use of ansatz was in 1942

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ansatz

Cite this Entry

“Ansatz.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Comments on ansatz

What made you want to look up ansatz? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!