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Borrowed from Latin aestimatus, past participle of aestimō, older form aestumo (to value, rate, esteem); from Old Latin *ais-temos (one who cuts copper), meaning one in the Roman Republic who mints money. See also the doublet esteem, as well as aim.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɛstɨmɨt/ (noun)
  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /ˈɛstɨˌmeɪ̪t/ (verb)
  • (file)


estimate (plural estimates)

  1. A rough calculation or assessment of the value, size, or cost of something.
  2. (construction and business) A document (or verbal notification) specifying how much a job is likely to cost.
    • 1928, Lawrence R. Bourne, chapter 3, in Well Tackled![1]:
      “They know our boats will stand up to their work,” said Willison, “and that counts for a good deal. A low estimate from us doesn't mean scamped work, but just that we want to keep the yard busy over a slack time.”
  3. An upper limitation on some positive quantity.
    • 1992, Louis de Branges, “The convergence of Euler functions”, in Journal of Functional Analysis[2], page 185:
      The desired norm estimate is now obtained from the identity... [referring to an earlier statement saying that a certain norm is less than or equal to a certain expression]


Derived termsEdit



estimate (third-person singular simple present estimates, present participle estimating, simple past and past participle estimated)

  1. To calculate roughly, often from imperfect data.
    • 1965, Ian Hacking, Logic of Statistical Inference[3]:
      I estimate that I need 400 board feet of lumber to complete a job, and then order 350 because I do not want a surplus, or perhaps order 450 because I do not want to make any subsequent orders.
    • 2003, Alexander J. Field, Gregory Clark, William A. Sundstrom, Research in Economic History[4]:
      Higher real prices for durables are estimated to have reduced their consumption per capita by 1.09% in 1930, ...
  2. To judge and form an opinion of the value of, from imperfect data.
    • John Locke
      It is by the weight of silver, and not the name of the piece, that men estimate commodities and exchange them.
    • J. C. Shairp
      It is always very difficult to estimate the age in which you are living.


Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit