• synonyms


[uh-prok-suh-mey-shuh n]
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  1. a guess or estimate: Ninety-three million miles is an approximation of the distance of the earth from the sun.
  2. nearness in space, position, degree, or relation; proximity; closeness.
  3. Mathematics, Physics. a result that is not necessarily exact, but is within the limits of accuracy required for a given purpose.
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Origin of approximation

1400–50; late Middle English approximacioun (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin approximātiōn-, stem of approximātiō. See approximate, -ion
Related formsap·prox·i·ma·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for approximation


  1. the process or result of making a rough calculation, estimate, or guesshe based his conclusion on his own approximation of the fuel consumption
  2. an imprecise or unreliable record or versionan approximation of what really happened
  3. maths an inexact number, relationship, or theory that is sufficiently accurate for a specific purpose
  4. maths
    1. an estimate of the value of some quantity to a desired degree of accuracy
    2. an expression in simpler terms than a given expression which approximates to it
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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 approximation


early 15c., "act of coming near or close," noun of action from approximate (v.). Meaning "result of approximating" is from 1650s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

approximation in Medicine


  1. Bringing tissue edges into desired apposition for suturing.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.