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 | \ ə-ˈpräk-sə-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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The site is between 15,280 and 16,560 years old, for an approximate age of 16,000 years, analysis indicated. Washington Post, "Idaho artifacts suggest Pacific entry for first Americans," 29 Aug. 2019 Prices are approximate and vary from market to market. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "5 great kosher wines for your Passover table, or anytime," 19 Mar. 2018 Unlike previous simulations, which simply focused on nondescript galaxies that were the approximate size of the Milky Way, this new simulation attempts to model the Milky Way itself. Quanta Magazine, "Missing Galaxies? Now There’s Too Many," 9 Jan. 2019 More than 350 children participated in six different heats broken down by age and gender over an approximate 1.2-mile course, Park District officials said. Daniel I. Dorfman, chicagotribune.com, "Glencoe’s Great Mud Run makes a mess: ‘It is just part of growing up’," 16 Sep. 2019 Our classical description of the world is a higher level, approximate way of talking about the wave function. Wired, "Sean Carroll Thinks We All Exist on Multiple Worlds," 10 Sep. 2019 The approximate area is marked on the map above, with specific counties indicated by dots. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "Map: Hurricane Dorian evacuations in Florida, Georgia, Carolinas," 4 Sep. 2019 While the number of victims and approximate property damage from Dorian is not immediately known, aid workers said up to 13,000 homes may have already been severely damaged or destroyed, according to CNN. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Bethenny Frankel Travels to Florida and the Bahamas to Help with Hurricane Dorian Relief," 3 Sep. 2019 Duration is an approximate measure of a bond's sensitivity to interest rate movements. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "Making Sense of Bond Investing During a Deeply Unusual Year," 23 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Terrapins need Mitchell to approximate half of Fernando's production to play through March. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Identifying the Best Value Bets to Win the 2020 National Title," 15 Aug. 2019 Police also released sketches attempting to approximate what the parents may look like based on a process known as DNA phenotyping. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "In rare move, DuPage indicts DNA profile of unknown person suspected in death of ‘Baby Hope,’ infant found dead near Wheaton," 5 Aug. 2019 The two had not met prior to the film, but a chemistry test, with Nanjiani and Bautista in chairs close together to approximate Stu’s compact Uber, sealed the deal. Jen Yamato, latimes.com, "In action-comedy ‘Stuber,’ Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista shoot down toxic masculinity," 3 July 2019 Eventually, the cost of such insurance will begin to approximate the cost of simply buying treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Margot Sanger-katz, New York Times, "Some Democrats Talk About Cosmetic Surgery Insurance. It Doesn’t Exist.," 3 July 2019 Imran Karim said that some labs do the work of approximating various products and then actively try to sell those nameless liquids, gels, and creams to existing brands. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "The Mysterious Economics of Face Wash," 6 Sep. 2019 If actual pixel edges and crunchy output aren’t your thing, then Slick Mode does a pretty good job of approximating anti-aliasing. Sam Byford, The Verge, "This expensive adapter makes the Nintendo 64 look good on modern TVs," 7 Aug. 2019 Armed with tons of TNT and ammonium nitrate, NASA worked with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to blast craters into this swath of land chosen for its many layers of volcanic cinders, which approximated the look and feel of the moon’s surface. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Before Going to the Moon, Apollo 11 Astronauts Trained at These Five Sites," 17 July 2019 In this case, computer scientists would lose their best strategy for approximating maximum-win probabilities. Quanta Magazine, "In Quantum Games, There’s No Way to Play the Odds," 1 Apr. 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for approximate

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for approximate

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

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More Definitions for approximate

approximate

verb
How to pronounce approximate (audio)

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

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Comments on approximate

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