ex·​trap·​o·​late ik-ˈstra-pə-ˌlāt How to pronounce extrapolate (audio)
extrapolated; extrapolating

transitive verb

: to predict by projecting past experience or known data
extrapolate public sentiment on one issue from known public reaction on others
: to project, extend, or expand (known data or experience) into an area not known or experienced so as to arrive at a usually conjectural knowledge of the unknown area
extrapolates present trends to construct an image of the future
: to infer (values of a variable in an unobserved interval) from values within an already observed interval

intransitive verb

: to perform the act or process of extrapolating
extrapolation noun
extrapolative adjective
extrapolator noun

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The Many Uses of Extrapolate

Scientists worry about the greenhouse effect because they have extrapolated the rate of carbon-dioxide buildup and predicted that its effect on the atmosphere will become increasingly severe. On the basis of their extrapolations, they have urged governments and businesses to limit factory and automobile emissions. Notice that it's acceptable to speak of extrapolating existing data (to produce new data), extrapolating from existing data (to produce new data), or extrapolating new data (from existing data)—in other words, it isn't easy to use this word wrong.

Examples of extrapolate in a Sentence

We can extrapolate the number of new students entering next year by looking at how many entered in previous years. With such a small study it is impossible to extrapolate accurately.
Recent Examples on the Web To extrapolate that out to hundreds of websites and thousands of writers is absolute nonsense. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 However, researchers should note that this data should not be extrapolated to humans. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2023 The assertion of 70,000 programs closing is extrapolated from a survey asking providers what would have happened without the grants and may not reflect current conditions. Elliot Haspel, The New Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 Bank of America analysts extrapolated the effect of the drugs even more broadly, saying in a report last week that by reducing cravings and addictive behaviors, the effect of the drugs could ripple across the markets for tobacco, alcohol and gaming. Laura Reiley, Washington Post, 10 Oct. 2023 If an error rate of .002 percent were extrapolated out to the 914,227 ballots cast, that would indicate a possible 18 errors across nearly a million ballots counted. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, 6 Oct. 2023 If this 32-minute segment could be extrapolated, the Lightning would be good for about 1600 miles of range. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 3 Sep. 2023 However, two lawyers told Fortune that to extrapolate Failla’s reasoning beyond the Uniswap case is a step too far. Byben Weiss, Fortune Crypto, 1 Sep. 2023 That’s been estimated as high as $50 billion a year by the Economic Policy Institute, which extrapolated from a 2008 survey of low-wage front-line workers in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'extrapolate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin extra outside + English -polate (as in interpolate) — more at extra-

First Known Use

1874, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of extrapolate was in 1874

Dictionary Entries Near extrapolate

Cite this Entry

“Extrapolate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extrapolate. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​trap·​o·​late ik-ˈstrap-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce extrapolate (audio)
extrapolated; extrapolating
: to work out unknown facts from known facts
extrapolation noun
extrapolator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on extrapolate

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