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pre·​ci·​sion pri-ˈsi-zhən How to pronounce precision (audio)
: the quality or state of being precise : exactness
: the degree of refinement with which an operation is performed or a measurement stated compare accuracy sense 2b
: 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
pri-ˈsi-zhə-nist How to pronounce precision (audio)


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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Essential reading: Make a big batch of pantry-friendly tomato sauce for a leg up on dinner all week 1/3 End of carousel Timing and precision are key, the elder Heard is fond of saying. Ann Maloney, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2023 But Take Note: Some parents might not love the lack of temperature precision and that there’s no night-light. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 18 Sep. 2023 But in a show about the vast emptiness of grief, Bloom’s airtight precision can only get her so far, and the result is like watching someone trying to stuff a black hole into a Tupperware jar. Vulture, 14 Sep. 2023 Plus, the pointed tip offers extra precision in comparison to the rounded doe-foot wands. Carrie Honaker, Southern Living, 11 Sep. 2023 Despite two decisive losses to Alcaraz this year — including a straight sets romp in the Wimbledon semifinals — Medvedev was able to turn the tables with a first serve that unlocked enough easy points and a level of precision in long rallies that stressed Alcaraz in unique ways. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 Since its foundation in 1875, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux, Audemars Piguet has held its position atop the list of Swiss haute horology’s most legendary brands, one synonymous with craft, precision, and heritage. Sean Santiago, ELLE Decor, 8 Sep. 2023 Both rarities have transcended the ordinary with incredible precision and magnificent style. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 Sep. 2023 With an aim of starting out fast, the Patriots showed energy and precision five minutes into play. Glenn Graham, Baltimore Sun, 14 Sep. 2023
Tracking foot traffic and transaction volume data — a pillar of any precision retail program — helps stores avoid over- and understaffing, ensuring associates are always on hand to help customers in need. Bjoern Petersen, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 And the composite in the aluminum-composite rear axle links was flexible enough to give the rear axle a disturbing springy, non-precision feel in some dynamic situations. Gary Witzenburg, Car and Driver, 7 July 2021 His Merrill Lynch account contains shares of companies like Sarepta Therapeutics, a maker of precision genetic medicines that treat rare neuromuscular and central nervous system diseases. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2021 But after decades of offshoring, finding U.S. manufacturing facilities capable of producing precision medical devices isn't easy. David Z. Morris, Fortune, 21 Feb. 2021 The invention challenge drew numerous tinkerers with no experience making precision medical devices for use on the critically ill. Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2020 See More

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


1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1875, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of precision was in 1698

Dictionary Entries Near precision

Cite this Entry

“Precision.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
pre·​ci·​sion pri-ˈsizh-ən How to pronounce precision (audio)
: the quality or state of being precise : exactness, accuracy


2 of 2 adjective
: designed for very accurate measurement or operation
a precision gauge
: marked by precision
precision drilling

More from Merriam-Webster on precision

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