Definition of approximate in English:


See synonyms for approximate

Translate approximate into Spanish


  • Close to the actual, but not completely accurate or exact.

    ‘the calculations are very approximate’
    • ‘Some Nordic countries even offer subsidized childcare services and compensation that is approximate to the actual loss of earnings.’
    • ‘You can also adjust three bars, like a graphic equaliser, controlling how recently the page was updated, how popular the site is and whether it is an exact or approximate word match.’
    • ‘He has collected nearly 30,000 entries and provided exact, equivalent or approximate words in Urdu.’
    • ‘The location they display for Metro stations bears only an approximate resemblance to the actual location of the station itself.’
    • ‘It was not possible to say when exactly death had occurred but it was open to the jury to return an approximate time of death.’
    • ‘An autopsy will be performed to find out the cause and the approximate date of death.’
    • ‘How close to the approximate truth for many men would that scenario be in terms of their emotional maturity?’
    • ‘The four will be commissioned as Army major generals for an approximate two-year term while serving intermittently in this role.’
    • ‘Runways, on the other hand, tell pilots the runway direction to the nearest approximate compass heading.’
    • ‘The potential energy surface in the active site was generated using the approximate valence bond method.’
    • ‘The Bible itself repeatedly refers to 40 years as the approximate life of a generation.’
    • ‘The Germans knew the approximate location, even though they could not be exact in that difficult terrain.’
    • ‘When is the approximate best time to get an accurate body fat percentage reading?’
    • ‘Our measures confirm that they selected their verbal response on the basis of an apprehension of approximate number rather than on an exact count.’
    • ‘Finally, to check the adequacy of the model, we present a more general model, together with a simpler approximate estimation procedure.’
    • ‘If we can have exact numerical computation, why would anyone choose approximate arithmetic?’
    • ‘Their approximate street value was estimated at $500 million.’
    • ‘However, even after we adjusted for these additional factors we still found an approximate doubling of risk of death from cancer among people with widespread pain.’
    • ‘In this article, we present an efficient approximate method for realizing coalescence times under more general patterns of population growth.’
    • ‘We are told that each curtain needs to be the width of the track or pole, but this is only an approximate measurement as curtains are made to the nearest half width of fabric.’
    estimated, rough, imprecise, inexact, coarse-grained
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/əˈpräksəmət/ /əˈprɑksəmət/

intransitive verb

[no object]
  • 1Come close or be similar to something in quality, nature, or quantity.

    ‘a leasing agreement approximating to ownership’
    • ‘reality can be approximated by computational techniques’
    • ‘This ersatz-Elizabethan mock-up, approximating to some incomplete and sketchy idea of the original, provides an anodyne facsimile of Elizabethan experience, from which the roughness, stench, and hazard have been removed.’
    • ‘The normal workings of the rugby world are put on hold in the week before an international, but as soon as something approximating to business as usual resumes tomorrow morning, the inquest which has been brewing all week will begin.’
    • ‘The only thing approximating to a real dessert was baklava, a particularly mean and thankless example of its kind being dry, almost syrup and nut-free.’
    • ‘The alloy is called Inver and it is used extensively in clocks, tapes and wire measures, differential expansion regulators, and in aluminium pistons with a split skirt in order to give an expansion approximating to that of cast iron.’
    • ‘But where a contract is made in a specialised business by two practitioners in that business I think a somewhat different standard is indicated, approximating to that of the reasonably informed practitioner in the field in question.’
    • ‘The latest sea-surface temperature charts indicate that the entire central and eastern Pacific Ocean, along the equatorial band, has a warm water anomaly approximating to about one degree Celsius.’
    • ‘Many Roman towns in Britain had street plans approximating to the classical rectangular grid pattern, and the cross-road alignment of junctions would have helped traffic to flow smoothly.’
    • ‘Some artists have been content to paint in colours approximating to local colours, giving the objects in their pictures as nearly as possible the colours which they are seen to have in ordinary everyday vision.’
    • ‘The presumption of innocence simply does not arise: nothing approximating to guilt is being alleged.’
    • ‘For only with our talk about ‘flat,’ we have the idea that these locutions are only convenient means for saying how closely a surface approximates, or how close it comes to being, a surface which is flat.’
    • ‘What is more, the closer a nation approximates to the American model - a highly advanced and technologically developed form of modern capitalism - the greater the rate of mental illness amongst its citizens.’
    • ‘This of course is science's strength, rather than its weakness, its ability to self-correct and approximate ever closer to a possible underlying truth.’
    • ‘Theatre is never real, even which it approximates to reality, let alone when it is Expressionist, or Absurd, or Tragic.’
    • ‘This comparison approximates to the form that a national screening programme might take compared with the current position of no routine screening.’
    • ‘Environmentalists hold to their own indispensable tenets about the stewardship of nature, the core of which approximates to ‘The earth is all we have, and its resources must be sustainably nurtured.’’
    • ‘Unfortunately, issuing buyers with a figure that approximates to an auctioneer's opinion on the lowest possible value a property might be worth is arguably even more vague and misleading than the much-derided system it would replace.’
    • ‘But the picture now looks much more benign, and approximates to my previous more moderate assumptions.’
    • ‘It approximates to a three-way split, with members almost equally signed from Scotland, the six counties and Dublin.’
    • ‘The sound expert said that what the officer heard through the microphone he wore was equivalent to what reached his ears independently and approximated to the real sound in the studio at the time.’
    • ‘You may have something approximated to armed insurrection or civil war, perhaps on the ground.’
    be close to, be near to, come close to, come near to, approach, border on, verge on, equal roughly
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    1. 1.1with object Estimate or calculate (a quantity) fairly accurately.
      ‘I had to approximate the weight of my horse’
      • ‘The latter was calculated by approximating the surface area to that of a spheroid.’
      • ‘The three definitions include or exclude certain items in an effort to provide a picture of inflation that more accurately approximates the particular inflation of individuals, groups, companies or economic sectors.’
      • ‘According to asymptotic theory, the distribution of maximum-likelihood estimates can be approximated by a multivariate normal distribution.’
      • ‘Properties of the posterior distribution of a parameter, such as its mean or density curve, are approximated without explicit likelihood calculations.’
      • ‘The series of purely planar images oscillates and beyond fourth order the residual image energy can be accurately approximated analytically.’
      • ‘Hard CHD estimates are approximated from the Framingham data.’
      • ‘However, the true tree is not known, and is approximated by a tree estimated from the whole sequence alignment.’
      • ‘At that time they were thought - probably accurately - to approximate the ages at which most people were no longer fit for full-time work.’
      • ‘These three statistical comparisons allowed us to test which method most accurately approximates the ideal.’
      • ‘Compare each method on how accurately it approximates the likelihood surface.’
      • ‘Archimedes also gave an accurate approximation to p and showed that he could approximate square roots accurately.’
      • ‘This arrangement for approximating the exchange rates of member currencies one to another became known as the ‘snake-in-the-tunnel’.’
      • ‘For short time periods the probability of finding food will then approach 1.0, and, because the winter diet is not very diverse, the energy gain can be approximated as a rate.’
      • ‘Within-island genetic uniformity decreased significantly with increasing population size, as approximated by total island area and vegetated area.’
      • ‘Gap size was approximated using the formula for the area of an ellipse.’
      • ‘Some other economists hold that the natural rate fluctuates over time and reject the notion that the natural rate can be approximated by an average figure.’
      • ‘The expansion rate of the pulp surface area is approximated by the expansion rate of the fruit surface area, which is a model input.’
      • ‘Instead, we allow different branches to have different rates but use a single rate for each branch to approximate the trajectory of rates on that branch.’
      • ‘We used uniform prior probabilities and four rate categories to approximate the distribution.’
      • ‘Hence, the ratio of the estimated parameter to its standard error approximates a Z-distribution for large samples and can be used to test the parameters.’
      estimate, calculate, approximate, make a guess at, make an estimate of
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/əˈpräksəˌmāt/ /əˈprɑksəˌmeɪt/


Late Middle English (in the adjectival sense ‘close, similar’): from late Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare, from ad- ‘to’ + proximus ‘very near’. The verb (originally meaning ‘bring close’) arose in the mid 17th century; the current adjectival sense dates from the early 19th century.