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a guess or estimate:
Ninety-three million miles is an approximation of the distance of the earth from the sun.
nearness in space, position, degree, or relation; proximity; closeness.
Mathematics, Physics. a result that is not necessarily exact, but is within the limits of accuracy required for a given purpose.
Contemporary Examples

To the second point, Reinhart and Rogoff had, to a first approximation, zero actual effect on policy.
Did Reinhart and Rogoff Flub a Major Statistic? Megan McArdle April 16, 2013

Finally, the former president is home, back in civilian life—or at some approximation of it.
The Last Ride The Daily Beast January 18, 2009

There are, to a first approximation, zero healthy adoptable babies in the US foster care system.
Can Gay Marriage Solve Our Adoption Problem? Megan McArdle March 28, 2013

Historical Examples

An approximation to these conditions was made in the following manner.
Life Movements in Plants Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose

The more perfect the approximation to truth, the more perfect is art.
Spontaneous Activity in Education Maria Montessori

When a first approximation has been obtained in this way, further approximations can be obtained in various ways.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 5 Various

This approximation, however, will serve all the purposes of this argument.
A Disquisition on the Evils of Using Tobacco Orin Fowler

History can never be other than an approximation to the truth, even when it relates to the events and characters of its own age.
Beacon Lights of History, Volume I John Lord

You cannot have read them without some approximation to our Church.
The Story of My Life Egerton Ryerson

Her code of manners included no approximation toward familiarity between a Talcott and a letter of lodgings.
Just Sixteen. Susan Coolidge

the process or result of making a rough calculation, estimate, or guess: he based his conclusion on his own approximation of the fuel consumption
an imprecise or unreliable record or version: an approximation of what really happened
(maths) an inexact number, relationship, or theory that is sufficiently accurate for a specific purpose

an estimate of the value of some quantity to a desired degree of accuracy
an expression in simpler terms than a given expression which approximates to it


early 15c., “act of coming near or close,” noun of action from approximate (v.). Meaning “result of approximating” is from 1650s.

approximation ap·prox·i·ma·tion (ə-prŏk’sə-mā’shən)
Bringing tissue edges into desired apposition for suturing.


Read Also:

  • Approximation algorithm

    approximation algorithm algorithm An algorithm for an optimisation problem that generates feasible but not necessarily optimal solutions. Unlike “heuristic”, the term “approximation algorithm” often implies some proven worst or average case bound on performance. The terms are often used interchangeably however. (1997-10-28)

  • Approximation suture

    approximation suture approximation suture n. A suture that pulls together the deep tissues of a wound.

  • Appt

    . . . appoint appointment

  • Apptd.

    . appointed

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