plus or minus

1 of 2


: indicating a quantity whose algebraically positive and negative values serve to bracket a range of values either alone or when added to and subtracted from a given number
measured with an accuracy of plus or minus 3 feet

plus or minus

2 of 2


: more or less, approximately
a dance for singles plus or minus age 30

Examples of plus or minus in a Sentence

Adverb I have plus or minus five dollars in change.
Recent Examples on the Web
Both surveys have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points Biden also has a lower approval rating — and higher disapproval rating — in our polling than Obama ever had during his first term. Mark Murray, NBC News, 27 Nov. 2023 When all states are combined, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2023 Engineers estimate the canister holds 250 grams of material from Bennu, plus or minus 100 grams. Marcia Dunn, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Sep. 2023 Questions based on the sample of 406 voters likely to attend the 2024 Iowa Republican caucuses have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Brianne Pfannenstiel, USA TODAY, 29 Aug. 2023 The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2023 The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 8 Nov. 2023 The overall margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. Emily Guskin, Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2023 Also new approaches like neo-adjuvant immunotherapy plus or minus chemotherapy improved the overall survival of patients with stage 2 NSCLC. Sanja Jelic, Verywell Health, 22 Sep. 2023
The survey of 1,582 adults, taken March 16-20 online has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7%. Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2023 The poll surveyed 805 adults via telephone interviews from March 16-20, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points. Bridget Bowman, NBC News, 21 Mar. 2023 The Ipsos phone survey of 1,004 adults is considered accurate to within plus or minus four percentage points. Arkansas Online, 26 Nov. 2022 Pre-crash, that cycle took about 11 hours and 55 minutes, but post-crash, that orbit time has dropped to 11 hours and 23 minutes (plus or minus a two-minute margin of uncertainty). Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 11 Oct. 2022 Here, purchaser simply put money in, and got money back, plus or minus their investment return, and less fees and expenses. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2023 With only about 340 individuals — plus or minus seven — remaining, according to a report released in the fall by the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, the whales are VIP visitors to the region's waters. Heather McCarron, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2023 For the third quarter, the company guided for revenue of $2 billion, plus or minus $150 million. Kathryn Hardison, WSJ, 26 Jan. 2023 Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points. Dallas News, 18 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plus or minus.' 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


1926, in the meaning defined above


1849, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of plus or minus was in 1849

Dictionary Entries Near plus or minus

Cite this Entry

“Plus or minus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

plus or minus

: indicating a quantity whose positive and negative values establish the limits of a range of values
measured with an accuracy of plus or minus 1 gram
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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