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[uh-prok-suh-mey-shuh n] /əˌprɒk səˈmeɪ ʃən/
a guess or estimate:
Ninety-three million miles is an approximation of the distance of the earth from the sun.
nearness in space, position, degree, or relation; proximity; closeness.
Mathematics, Physics. a result that is not necessarily exact, but is within the limits of accuracy required for a given purpose.
Origin of approximation
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English approximacioun (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin approximātiōn-, stem of approximātiō. See approximate, -ion
Related forms
approximative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for approximation
  • Still, the eight-spiked form was a closer approximation of the animal than some of the naturalist's earlier interpretations.
  • In spring, the hare's colors change to blue-gray in approximation of local rocks and vegetation.
  • Picture a wasp with its wings ripped off, and you'll have a good approximation of a bulldog ant.
  • The visible fixed stars are bodies for which the law of inertia certainly holds to a high degree of approximation.
  • approximation to a hot body increases heat in proportion to the degree of approximation.
  • It provides a closer approximation of how these two surveys should compare.
  • Dream up a cross between cornpone and blini and you've got a close approximation.
  • His culture is used to shield him from an experience, or even an approximation, of the reality of injustices.
  • The planets move in empty space and to a good approximation under the influence of a single motionless body, the sun.
  • But that doesn't mean that the efficient market is not the best approximation if you don't have anything else to use.
British Dictionary definitions for approximation


the process or result of making a rough calculation, estimate, or guess: he based his conclusion on his own approximation of the fuel consumption
an imprecise or unreliable record or version: an approximation of what really happened
(maths) an inexact number, relationship, or theory that is sufficiently accurate for a specific purpose
  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
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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approximation in Medicine

approximation ap·prox·i·ma·tion (ə-prŏk'sə-mā'shən)
Bringing tissue edges into desired apposition for suturing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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