approximation

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Example Sentences

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 Using such an approach, Mike Roberts posted a lower bound for the more general case, which Rainer aus dem Spring derived an approximation for. Katie Mccormick, Quanta Magazine, 1 Aug. 2022 Bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Nick Buxton made sure people could do an experimental-rock approximation of dancing, and guitarist Tom Dowse provided spiky slashes and dots of color to Shaw’s appealing grays. Journal Sentinel, 10 July 2022 To a good approximation, Saturday ended the annual long-day season. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2022 And The Gray Man has to contend with offering not its own unique set of thrills but an approximation of what Hollywood already provides. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 The five-day isolation period reflects an approximation of when people are most likely to be infectious. Lena H. Sun, Joel Achenbach, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Aug. 2022 As always, the anchor of the lineup will be Bourbon County Stout (14.4% alcohol), an approximation of the original created in 1992 — or perhaps 1994, or maybe 1995. Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune, 1 Aug. 2022 This is the scientific method, to ask this tricky question and find a way to get a good approximation to an answer to it. Steven Strogatz, Quanta Magazine, 27 July 2022 His first challenge was to grow marine bacteria in lab conditions that are, at best, an approximation of those in the ocean. Stephanie Stone, Scientific American, 23 July 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.

Keep scrolling for more

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near approximation

Cite this Entry

“Approximation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/approximation. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Kids Definition

approximation

noun

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

Last Updated: 21 Sep 2022

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ