ap·prox·i·ma·tion | \ə-ˌpräk-sə-ˈmā-shən \

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

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Other Words from approximation

approximative \-ˈpräk-sə-ˌmā-tiv \ 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

Trails lead past enclosures where creatures roam in reasonable approximations of their natural habitats. Patricia Harris And David Lyon,, "Goin’ up the country: The rustic appeal of Maine’s Route 26," 21 June 2018 The prom had been decorated like a real, wild safari camp - or at least some Hollywood approximation thereof, with faux-rock walls and fake snakes and trees along the main wall. The Washington Post,, "Florida prep school apologizes for using tiger as prom prop," 14 May 2018 The financial sector is second only to technology in the S&P 500—to a first approximation, one dollar of every seven ends up, one way or another, in the pockets of Wall Street. Felix Salmon, WIRED, "Silicon Valley's Latest Revolution: Cutting Out Wall Street," 23 Apr. 2018 Based on pitch-value approximations, Duffy's slider has been worth negative-10.6 runs this season; to compare, the second-worst slider from an MLB starter this season has been worth negative-5 runs. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "What's been wrong with Danny Duffy? Look at his slider this year vs. last season | The Kansas City Star," 24 May 2018 These claims are rough approximations of the golden ratio at best and pseudoscience at worst. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The Mysteries of the Golden Ratio Explained by Math and Sunflowers," 11 May 2018 And for the commuter rail, phone apps give an approximation of where trains are along their routes, and the T recently upgraded to provide more frequent — and accurate — estimates. Adam Vaccaro,, "Next bus in 3, 2, 1 . . . 20 minutes?!," 20 June 2018 Kim Komando, special for USA TODAY More than any other device, Alexa has become our closest approximation of artificial intelligence. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "21 clever Alexa commands you will use again and again," 9 June 2018 Your dog may do fine in the car while on flat city streets, but that doesn’t mean much—winding mountain roads into the wilderness will give you a better approximation for whether your dog is prone to motion sickness. Jayme Moye, Outside Online, "How to Take Any Dog on an Adventure," 27 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of approximation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for approximation

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

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More Definitions for approximation



English Language Learners Definition of approximation

: an amount, figure, etc., that is almost correct and is not intended to be exact : an approximate amount, figure, etc.

: something that is similar to something else


ap·prox·i·ma·tion | \ə-ˌpräk-sə-ˈmā-shən \

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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Comments on approximation

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


one that holds something together

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