fudge factor


: an arbitrary mathematical term inserted into a calculation in order to arrive at an expected solution or to allow for errors especially of underestimation
broadly : any arbitrary unspecified factor

Examples of fudge factor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And the cosmological constant, as a fudge factor that changes how spacetime interacts with energy, is still a leading contender. Bill Andrews, Discover Magazine, 11 July 2018 This happens in discussions of psychopharmacology, genetic engineering, brain implants, artificial intelligence and other technologies that might, in principle (that wonderful, all-purpose fudge factor), boost our cognitive and physiological abilities. John Horgan, Scientific American, 23 Jan. 2021 The cosmological constant was little more than a fudge factor, to hold the universe still. Zeeya Merali, Discover Magazine, 16 Apr. 2013 There's a 95% confidence interval which can push the time back to 4,000 years, so there's some fudge factor too. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 5 May 2011 Everything else — the excess energy from the byzantine quantum effects and nonlocal interactions — went into the second half: a fudge factor known as the exchange and correlation functional. Quanta Magazine, 7 Feb. 2022 Over the following decades, scientists built on Kohn and Sham’s work with increasingly clever ways of estimating the fudge factor, and density functionals became the de facto way to understand electrons. Quanta Magazine, 7 Feb. 2022 The US Environmental Protection Agency's test averages almost twice that, but then gets subjected to a fudge factor that heavily penalizes some while flattering others. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 31 Aug. 2020 This has led to a fudge factor in the literature — guesstimates that 10% of the micrometeoroidal matter sticks to the ice and pollutes it. Quanta Magazine, 26 Nov. 2019

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

Word History

First Known Use

1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fudge factor was in 1962

Dictionary Entries Near fudge factor

Cite this Entry

“Fudge factor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fudge%20factor. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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