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

Other Words from extrapolate

extrapolation \ ik-​ˌstra-​pə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce extrapolate (audio) \ noun
extrapolative \ ik-​ˈstra-​pə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce extrapolate (audio) \ adjective
extrapolator \ ik-​ˈstra-​pə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce extrapolate (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 Veronica Mars in this example already had a popular fan base to extrapolate funds from, most films are coming in cold which makes crowdfunding much more difficult. Josh Wilson, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Like a chef experimenting with different combinations of ingredients to see which version works, the AI develops a picture through experimental trials that extrapolate from different aspects of the existing images. Rashed Haq, Wired, 20 Jan. 2022 What a coaching staff has to extrapolate from Sunday’s breakout performance by Victor Oladipo is whether the same shots and the same payoff would have come if Jimmy Butler was in the mix. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 4 Apr. 2022 Colleges and universities have struggled to extrapolate siloed data and share it across departments long before the pandemic began, but the problem was exacerbated when Covid-19 hit. Jim Milton, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 Can’t help but maybe extrapolate that perhaps the Jazz just aren’t really good enough. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Mar. 2022 The new study relied on data from 74 countries that tracked excess deaths and used computer models to extrapolate those figures out to 191 countries worldwide. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 11 Mar. 2022 That’s the vision of the burgeoning field of aging research, where scientists are trying to extrapolate tantalizing life-prolonging findings from animal experiments into medicines that slow, prevent or even reverse the aging process for humans. Ron Winslow, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2022 Investors tend to extrapolate recent successes into the future, often paying overly high prices for stocks that have done well, noted William Smead, chief investment officer at Smead Capital Management in Phoenix. Russ Wiles, USA TODAY, 15 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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-

Learn More About extrapolate

Time Traveler for extrapolate

Time Traveler

The first known use of extrapolate was in 1874

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Dictionary Entries Near extrapolate

extra point


extrapolation chamber

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Statistics for extrapolate

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extrapolate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extrapolate. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on extrapolate

Nglish: Translation of extrapolate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extrapolate for Arabic Speakers


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