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probable error

noun, Statistics.
a quantity formerly used as a measure of variability: equal to 0.6745 times the standard deviation. A normally distributed population has half of its elements within one probable error of the mean.
Origin of probable error
First recorded in 1805-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for probable error
Historical Examples
  • Then among the foothills of the Sierras at Colfax, the coefficient drops till it is scarcely larger than the probable error.

    Climatic Changes Ellsworth Huntington
  • We still have a probable error of several miles in hitting the target.

  • Even whilst writing this very Essay I have given an order with regard to which I foresaw a probable error.

    Human Intercourse Philip Gilbert Hamerton
  • The ambiguous term .05 is sometimes called the probable error.

  • "Two-sevenths of our force, with a probable error of one in seven," replied the younger Vorkul.

    Spacehounds of IPC Edward Elmer Smith
  • If, therefore, all were rated and scaled by this value, the results would fall under a curve of probable error.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • It was a moderately complicated equation, and the computation of the probable error was especially tricky.

    Talents, Incorporated William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • An examination of 1407 angles showed that the probable error of an observed angle is on the average 0″.28.

  • The probable error of a single observation of a fine object with this theodolite is about 0″.2.

  • But after allowing for my probable error, it figures an ellipse of low eccentricity, between the orbits of Io and Europa.

    Spacehounds of IPC Edward Elmer Smith
probable error in Science
probable error
The amount by which the arithmetic mean of a sample is expected to vary because of chance alone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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