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

Definition of extrapolate

transitive verb

1a : to predict by projecting past experience or known data extrapolate public sentiment on one issue from known public reaction on others
b : 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
2 : 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

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Other Words from extrapolate

extrapolation \ ik-​ˌstra-​pə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce extrapolation (audio) \ noun
extrapolative \ ik-​ˈstra-​pə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce extrapolative (audio) \ adjective
extrapolator \ ik-​ˈstra-​pə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce extrapolator (audio) \ noun

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 There are no randomized controlled trials and most data on patients has been extrapolated from small, single center studies, according to UNC's Sheikh. Gina Yu, CNN, "Trump suggests hydroxychloroquine may protect against Covid-19. Researchers say there's no evidence of that," 5 Apr. 2020 Then extrapolate what happened during one of the few games played at the Big Ten basketball tournament before it was called off. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State mailbag: If there is football, what would count as success for Mel Tucker?," 20 Apr. 2020 Assembly members should consider extrapolating parts of this priorities document to fit the needs of their own districts, as this document is meant to reflect the priorities for the entire municipality, from Peters Creek to Portage. Anchorage Daily News, "14 questions: Anchorage Assembly candidate Chris Constant," 28 Mar. 2020 Lover, for example, extrapolated from a single case at the CPAC conference in late February. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Researchers Push For Mass Blood Tests as a Covid-19 Strategy," 25 Mar. 2020 To grade each state and county, Unacast calculated the change in average distance traveled by tracking GPS data from tens of millions of anonymous smartphones and extrapolating the results based on population. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "New database reveals which Kentucky counties are practicing social distancing," 25 Mar. 2020 One option is to record whale calls and try to extrapolate from that. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Making a more accurate pregnancy test for humpback whales," 26 Feb. 2020 Even for choices that seem automatic — jumping out of the way of a speeding car, for instance — the brain can very quickly extrapolate from past experiences to make predictions and guide behavior. Quanta Magazine, "In Brain Waves, Scientists See Neurons Juggle Possible Futures," 24 Feb. 2020 In the most studies focus on or the , and the data cannot be extrapolated to the novel coronavirus. Washington Post, "Governmental agencies debunk bogus coronavirus cures such as bleach, garlic and silver," 10 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extrapolate.' 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 extrapolate

1874, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for extrapolate

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

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Time Traveler for extrapolate

Time Traveler

The first known use of extrapolate was in 1874

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Statistics for extrapolate

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extrapolate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extrapolate. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for extrapolate


How to pronounce extrapolate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of extrapolate

formal : to form an opinion or to make an estimate about something from known facts

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