English edit

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Etymology edit

From Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare (to approach); ad + proximare (to come near). See proximate.

Pronunciation edit


Adjective edit

approximate (comparative more approximate, superlative most approximate)

  1. Approaching; proximate; nearly resembling.
  2. Nearing correctness; nearly exact; not perfectly accurate.
    approximate results or values
    NASA's Genesis spacecraft has on board an ion monitor to record the speed, density, temperature and approximate composition of the solar wind ions.

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Verb edit

approximate (third-person singular simple present approximates, present participle approximating, simple past and past participle approximated)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To estimate.
    I approximated the value of pi by taking 22 divided by 7.
    • 2022 January 12, Sir Michael Holden, “Reform of the workforce or death by a thousand cuts?”, in RAIL, number 948, page 22:
      As yet, we don't know what the comparable figures will be like for the current financial year which ends in March 2022, but we can have a good stab at approximating them.
  2. (transitive) To come near to; to approach.
    • 1911, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax:
      When you follow two separate chains of thought, Watson, you will find some point of intersection which should approximate to the truth.
    • 1802, Jedidiah Morse, The American Universal Geography:
      The telescope approximates perfection.
  3. (transitive) To carry or advance near; to cause to approach.

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Latin edit

Verb edit


  1. second-person plural present active imperative of approximō