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

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin approximātus drawn near to, approached (past participle of approximāre). See ap-1, proximate

approximately, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  almost accurate or exact
2.  inexact; rough; loose: only an approximate fit
3.  much alike; almost the same
4.  near; close together
5.  (usually foll by to) to come or bring near or close; be almost the same (as)
6.  maths See accurate to find an expression for (some quantity) accurate to a specified degree
[C15: from Late Latin approximāre, from Latin proximus nearest, from prope near]

approximately (əˈprɒksɪmɪtlɪ)
close to; around; roughly or in the region of

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1640s, from L. approximatus, pp. of approximare "to come near to," from ad- "to" + proximare "come near," from proximus "nearest," superlative of prope "near." The verb is 1650s, from the adjective. Related: Approximately (1845).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

approximate ap·prox·i·mate (ə-prŏk'sə-māt')
v. ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing, ap·prox·i·mates
To bring together, as cut edges of tissue. adj. (-mĭt)

  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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
The restaurant area seats approximately 30 people.
Although tunnels are approximately horizontal, they must be built with
  sufficient gradient for proper drainage.
Remove approximately one cup of liquid from pot and place in a small bowl.
At peak hours they will run approximately every 10 minutes, at off-peak hours,
  approximately every 15 minutes.
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