ap·​prox·​i·​ma·​tion | \ ə-ˌpräk-sə-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce approximation (audio) \

Definition of approximation

1 : the act or process of drawing together
2 : the quality or state of being close or near an approximation to the truth an approximation of justice
3 : something that is approximate especially : a mathematical quantity that is close in value to but not the same as a desired quantity

Other Words from approximation

approximative \ ə-​ˈpräk-​sə-​ˌmā-​tiv How to pronounce approximation (audio) \ adjective

Examples of approximation in a Sentence

This isn't an exact figure but I think it's a good approximation of what the land is worth. The color of the paint isn't the exact same color as the vase, but it's a close approximation.
Recent Examples on the Web The shooting rips the viewer out of this fantasia into the real world, or at least an approximation of it, and sets the tone for what this show will be. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 9 June 2022 The great miracle of our modern food system has been to supply us with the freshness of spring all year round—or at least with an approximation of it. Bee Wilson, WSJ, 14 May 2022 From executive producer Ryan Murphy comes a documentary exploration of the famed artist’s life and career, complete with an approximation of Warhol narrating, thanks to AI techniques. oregonlive, 6 Mar. 2022 However, spending time with select employees from every department and location can be a good approximation. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 Swinton calls upon the Hebrew word shalom as the closest approximation to health. Amy Julia Becker, Time, 16 Apr. 2022 To Western ears, a town where old men dress up to go smuggling, in a mountain range called the Zagros, in an imaginary country called Kurdistan, which historians say doubles as an approximation for Eden, can all sound a little unreal. Alex Perry, Outside Online, 18 Oct. 2021 Washington sings, performing a pretty spot-on approximation of Young’s high tenor. Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2022 Because Gran Turismo provides a realistic approximation of specific cars and specific tracks—and of the unique physics parameters that govern each—this research might also have applications outside of video games. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of approximation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for approximation

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near approximation



approximation theory

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Statistics for approximation

Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Approximation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for approximation


ap·​prox·​i·​ma·​tion | \ ə-ˌpräk-sə-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce approximation (audio) \

Kids Definition of approximation

1 : an estimate or figure that is not intended to be exact
2 : an act or the result of coming near or close The color isn't exactly the same, but it's a close approximation.


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