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

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Other Words from approximation

approximative \ ə-​ˈpräk-​sə-​ˌmā-​tiv How to pronounce approximative (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 Lions did not actually practice, so their injury report was only an approximation. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Now what? Detroit Lions football injury report has Jeff Driskel on it," 26 Nov. 2019 Here’s one that probably qualifies as both: The two great waves of economic globalization and interdependence in modern history were, to a rough approximation, 1870–1914 and 1980–2007. Daniel Foster, National Review, "Progressive Woke, Communist Yoke," 24 Oct. 2019 The contract amount, Pepera added, was an approximation, as some details of the contract were still being finalized at the time of the meeting. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Brunswick school board approves 2020 appropriations budget," 1 Oct. 2019 McCoy was listed as a full participant on the injury report, which is an approximation of what the Redskins think would have happened in practice. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Redskins’ Keenum has foot injury, status vs. Giants in doubt," 25 Sep. 2019 This useful approximation is plotted as the black curve on the conversion figure below. Christian Yates, Quartz, "Your dog may be older than you think," 4 Dec. 2019 Georgia transfer QB Justin Fields has been an approximation of Dwayne Haskins, and the offense is less conservative under new coach Ryan Day. Christopher Smith, al, "Why Alabama deserves to be the national championship favorite," 14 Oct. 2019 The company attempts to bring some approximation of these labor standards to the U.S., but the Americans, many of whom had previously been members of the United Auto Workers union, begin to complain about their working conditions. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "“American Factory,” a New Netflix Film from the Obamas, Explores the Challenges of a Globalized Economy," 19 Aug. 2019 On Wednesday morning, Smart, who is the Celtics’ closest approximation to Beverley, offered some praise for his counterpart., "In the end, however, these big plays on this big stage will end as footnotes rather than cause for celebration, and the Celtics will look for teaching moments from a 107-104 overtime loss to the Clippers.," 21 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for approximation

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

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Statistics for approximation

Last Updated

4 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Approximation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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How to pronounce approximation (audio)

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on approximation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with approximation

Spanish Central: Translation of approximation

Nglish: Translation of approximation for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about approximation

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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