precision

noun
pre·​ci·​sion | \ pri-ˈsi-zhən How to pronounce precision (audio) \

Definition of precision

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the quality or state of being precise : exactness
2a : the degree of refinement with which an operation is performed or a measurement stated — compare accuracy sense 2b
b : the accuracy (as in binary or decimal places) with which a number can be represented usually expressed in terms of the number of computer words available for representation double precision arithmetic permits the representation of an expression by two computer words

precision

adjective

Definition of precision (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : adapted for extremely accurate measurement or operation
2 : held to low tolerance in manufacture
3 : marked by precision of execution

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from precision

Noun

precisionist \ pri-​ˈsi-​zhə-​nist How to pronounce precisionist (audio) , -​ˈsizh-​nist \ noun

Did You Know?

Many of us often use precision and accuracy as synonyms, but not scientists and engineers. For them, accuracy describes a particular measurement—that is, how close it is to the truth. But precision describes a measurement system—that is, how good it is at giving the same result every time it measures the same thing. This may be why even nonscientists now often speak of "precision instruments" for measuring, "precision landings" made by airplanes, "precision drilling" for natural gas, and so on.

Examples of precision in a Sentence

Noun

I admire the precision of her work. the company that measures TV ratings prides itself on the precision of its calculations

Adjective

The airplane made a precision approach for landing.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Photo: Gordon Welters for The Wall Street Journal (Originally published Nov. 17, 2017) Carlsen, though, quickly displayed the intuitive and clinical precision that has allowed him to cast an outsize shadow over the game for his years. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Magnus Carlsen Wins World Chess Championship," 28 Nov. 2018 Creative types can scribble, paint and do other activities requiring precision right on the screen itself with a new Apple Pencil stylus ($130) that magnetically attaches to the edge of the screen. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Apple redesigns the iPad Pro, breathes new life in the MacBook Air," 30 Oct. 2018 One is struck by the intricacy and pinpoint precision of what must be endlessly rehearsed routines and, above all, the consistent level of coordination, teamwork, mutual dependence, and trust required to execute their duties. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "A Cirque du Soleil show that’s as interested in ‘Ahh’ as ‘Wow’," 29 June 2018 Stops are relatively gradual and trains are long, requiring precision in finally coming to a halt so that all doors are facing the platform. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "SunRail trains driven by women engineers for 1st time," 30 May 2018 While the comparison of Roseanne’s Lanford to Elgin may lack precision, most agreed that the show hits its primary goal: be funny. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "'Roseanne' show's Lanford is based loosely on Elgin. So how do they compare?," 18 May 2018 Minor numbers indicate greater precision, so the weight is the inverse of this amount. Bloomberg.com, "Mexican Election Coverage," 12 Feb. 2018 Foy’s performance has been praised by critics for its precision and power, garnering her a 2019 Golden Globe nomination for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in any motion picture. Gavanndra Hodge, WSJ, "Claire Foy Steps Into the Spotlight," 9 Jan. 2019 Or, to retain our original mathematical precision, novels for children must contain one smart/brave/adventurous girl, one smart/brave/adventurous boy, and one somewhat lacking boy, i.e., 1.618 boys. Constance Grady, Vox, "The time has come to choose the Oddest Book Title of the Year," 3 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precision.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of precision

Noun

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1875, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about precision

Statistics for precision

Last Updated

9 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for precision

The first known use of precision was in 1698

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for precision

precision

noun

English Language Learners Definition of precision

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the quality of being precise : exactness or accuracy

precision

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of precision (Entry 2 of 2)

: designed for very accurate measurement or operation
: done in a very careful and exact way

precision

noun
pre·​ci·​sion | \ pri-ˈsi-zhən How to pronounce precision (audio) \

Kids Definition of precision

: the quality or state of being precise or exact : accuracy The lines were drawn with great precision.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on precision

What made you want to look up precision? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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