least squares

plural noun

: a method of fitting a curve to a set of points representing statistical data in such a way that the sum of the squares of the distances of the points from the curve is a minimum

Examples of least squares in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Regression through the origin with phylogenetically independent contrasts...which is equivalent to phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) analysis, accounts for the nonindependence of species and indicates no overall evolutionary relationship between the traits... Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2010 Surely someone has done a phylogenetic least squares with a lot of different clades and checked for this? Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 5 May 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'least squares.' 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

1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of least squares was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near least squares

Cite this Entry

“Least squares.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/least%20squares. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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