• synonyms


[adjective uh-prok-suh-mit; verb uh-prok-suh-meyt]
  1. near or approaching a certain state, condition, goal, or standard.
  2. nearly exact; not perfectly accurate or correct: The approximate time was 10 o'clock.
  3. near; close together.
  4. very similar; nearly identical.
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verb (used with object), ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing.
  1. to come near to; approach closely to: to approximate an ideal.
  2. to estimate: We approximated the distance at three miles.
  3. to simulate; imitate closely: The motions of the stars can be approximated in a planetarium.
  4. to bring near.
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verb (used without object), ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing.
  1. to come near in position, character, amount, etc.
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Origin of approximate

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin approximātus drawn near to, approached (past participle of approximāre). See ap-1, proximate
Related formsap·prox·i·mate·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for approximates

close, near, rough, loose, guessed, resembling, matching, like, neighboring, bordering, resemble, reach, touch, estimate, approach, almost, comparative, proximate, relative, imperfect

Examples from the Web for approximates

Historical Examples of approximates

  • No wonder the crop of the Negro approximates that of the white man.

    The Negro Farmer

    Carl Kelsey

  • Germany has nothing which approximates to a two-Power standard.

  • The development of the locomotive in America approximates its development in England.

  • But he often approximates to the Vampire as we meet him in Western folk-lore.

  • It approximates gradually the points of attachment of the thread.

    The Insect World

    Louis Figuier

British Dictionary definitions for approximates


adjective (əˈprɒksɪmɪt)
  1. almost accurate or exact
  2. inexact; rough; looseonly an approximate fit
  3. much alike; almost the same
  4. near; close together
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verb (əˈprɒksɪˌmeɪt)
  1. (usually foll by to) to come or bring near or close; be almost the same (as)
  2. maths to find an expression for (some quantity) accurate to a specified degreeSee accurate (def. 4)
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Derived Formsapproximative, adjective

Word Origin for approximate

C15: from Late Latin approximāre, from Latin proximus nearest, from prope near
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for approximates



early 15c., from Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare "to come near to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + proximare "come near," from proximus "nearest," superlative of prope "near" (see propinquity).

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early 15c., "to bring or put close," from approximate (adj.). Meaning "to come close" is from 1789. Related: Approximated; approximating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

approximates in Medicine


  1. To bring together, as cut edges of tissue.
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  1. Relating to the contact surfaces, either proximal or distal, of two adjacent teeth; proximate.
  2. Close together. Used of the teeth in the human jaw.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.