approximate

adjective
ap·​prox·​i·​mate | \ ə-ˈpräk-sə-mət How to pronounce approximate (audio) \

Definition of approximate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : nearly correct or exact : close in value or amount but not precise an approximate solution an approximate date
2 : located close together approximate leaves

approximate

verb
ap·​prox·​i·​mate | \ -ˌmāt How to pronounce approximate (audio) \
approximated; approximating

Definition of approximate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to come near to or be close to (something) a reproduction that approximates the original
2a : to bring near or close
b : to bring (cut edges of tissue) together

intransitive verb

chiefly British : to come close usually used with to … the pigments on a palette can only approximate to the limitless range of colour in nature.The Illustrated Dictionary of Art Terms

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from approximate

Adjective

approximately adverb

Examples of approximate in a Sentence

Adjective

This is the approximate location of the ancient city. Can you give me the approximate cost of the repair?

Verb

I've finally found a vegetarian burger that approximates the taste of real beef. The colors in the pictures can only approximate the real thing. an Australian who can approximate a strong New York City accent
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Authorities estimate the 30,000 pounds of cocaine found at the Philadelphia ship port has an approximate street value of over $1 billion. Matt Mcnulty, PEOPLE.com, "Seized Cargo Ship Carrying 20 Tons of Cocaine Owned by JPMorgan Chase," 11 July 2019 The 17th overall pick was given an approximate value of $3.61 million, per MLB.com, while the 89th selection is worth far less at $667,900. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, "Matt Allan, Drew Mendoza selected in third round of MLB Draft," 4 June 2019 In addition to—or maybe instead of—like or share counts, the app could offer an abstract rendition, maybe in emoji form, of the approximate emotional reaction of people who viewed your post. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "What If Social Media Could Tell You When You’re Mean?," 25 June 2019 The younger Scandirito was the sole beneficiary of many of his father's accounts, which showed the father had an approximate financial worth of $800,000. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Son of ex-Macomb judge who chopped up dad's body sentenced to 15 years in prison," 21 June 2019 That crowding led to the opening of a 1950s-era facility on the third floor of police headquarters, which in addition to lacking modern safety features also cost the city an unbudgeted approximate $183,000 per month to operate. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "New director of Louisville Metro Corrections appointed and will take over in August," 14 June 2019 Those changes, adopted as part of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), will likely result in ASCAP and BMI rate courts setting rates that more closely approximate fair market value. Ed Christman, Billboard, "US Dept. of Justice Reviewing ASCAP & BMI Consent Decrees," 5 June 2019 Just enter your destinations, and the app will calculate trip time, mileage, and approximate gas cost. Janna Irons, Outside Online, "The Best (Free) Road Trip Apps," 6 June 2018 The prints have an approximate image size of 7-½″ x 10-½″, are printed on heavy white archival paper, and come in a matte-black wood-composite frame with an off-white acid-free archival mat. James Ferguson, The Reader's Catalog, "Illustrations," 17 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Dodgers’ fourth straight loss, a streak that has now wrapped around the All-Star break and journeyed from coast to coast, closely approximated the first three with a late-game twist. Jorge Castillo, latimes.com, "Dodgers fall to Red Sox, suffering their fourth loss in a row," 12 July 2019 The next best option is to build models to approximate how wild populations might respond to the introduction of a gene drive. Quanta Magazine, "Genetic Engineering to Clash With Evolution," 8 Sep. 2016 Investigators were still able to approximate the family’s final route by the pings on their cell phones. Lauren Smiley, Glamour, "Sarah Hart Was ‘Intoxicated’: Everything We’ve Learned So Far About the Hart Family From the Coroner’s Inquest," 5 Apr. 2019 This approximates three weeks’ rent on the average one-bedroom U.S. apartment. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "If Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Is a Right, Let’s Have Guns for All," 14 June 2019 The incident occurred at approximated 5:15 p.m. Sunday and involved a vehicle of unknown description traveling southbound near Cambridge Road. Rick Kambic, chicagotribune.com, "'It's pretty hard to accidentally hit 19 geese': Mundelein police think flock crossing roadway was struck on purpose," 12 June 2019 The researchers approximate the algorithmic information content of a network (since the actual value cannot be computed), then introduce a mutation to the network and test its effect on the Kolmogorov complexity. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematical Simplicity May Drive Evolution’s Speed," 29 Nov. 2018 Cycles of heating and cooling approximate the intense sunsets and sunrises a GPS satellite will see in space. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Locked Rooms Where They Protect GPS," 22 Mar. 2019 Transit officials in cities around the world are trying to find ways to help buses move faster through traffic, better approximating the expediency of subway service at a small fraction of the operating and infrastructure costs. Martine Powers, Washington Post, "Metro wants bus trips to be faster, and getting rid of cash may be the answer," 26 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of approximate

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for approximate

Adjective and Verb

Late Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare to come near, from Latin ad- + proximare to come near — more at proximate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about approximate

Statistics for approximate

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for approximate

The first known use of approximate was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for approximate

approximate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of approximate

: to be very similar to but not exactly like (something)
: to do or make a thing that is very similar to but not exactly like (something)
: to calculate the almost exact value or position of (something)

approximate

adjective
ap·​prox·​i·​mate | \ ə-ˈpräk-sə-mət How to pronounce approximate (audio) \

Kids Definition of approximate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: nearly correct or exact the approximate cost

Other Words from approximate

approximately adverb

approximate

verb
ap·​prox·​i·​mate | \ ə-ˈpräk-sə-ˌmāt How to pronounce approximate (audio) \
approximated; approximating

Kids Definition of approximate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to come near in position, value, or characteristics : approach approximating the distance He tried to approximate the singer's style.

approximate

adjective
ap·​prox·​i·​mate | \ ə-ˈpräk-sə-mət How to pronounce approximate (audio) \

Medical Definition of approximate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: located close together

approximate

transitive verb
ap·​prox·​i·​mate | \ -ˌmāt How to pronounce approximate (audio) \
approximated; approximating

Medical Definition of approximate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to bring together approximate cut edges of tissue

Other Words from approximate

approximation \ ə-​ˌpräk-​sə-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce approximation (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on approximate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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