heuristic

[hyoo-ris-tik or, often, yoo-]
adjective
1.
serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.
2.
encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error: a heuristic teaching method.
3.
of, pertaining to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.
4.
Computers, Mathematics. pertaining to a trial-and-error method of problem solving used when an algorithmic approach is impractical.
noun
5.
a heuristic method of argument.
6.
the study of heuristic procedure.

Origin:
1815–25; < Neo-Latin heuristicus, equivalent to Greek heur(ískein) to find out, discover + Latin -isticus -istic

heuristically, adverb
nonheuristic, adjective
unheuristic, adjective
unheuristically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
heuristic (hjʊəˈrɪstɪk)
 
adj
1.  helping to learn; guiding in discovery or investigation
2.  (of a method of teaching) allowing pupils to learn things for themselves
3.  a.  maths, science, philosophy using or obtained by exploration of possibilities rather than by following set rules
 b.  computing denoting a rule of thumb for solving a problem without the exhaustive application of an algorithm: a heuristic solution
 
n
4.  (plural) the science of heuristic procedure
 
[C19: from New Latin heuristicus, from Greek heuriskein to discover]
 
heu'ristically
 
adv

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

heuristic
"serving to discover or find out," 1821, irregular formation from Gk. heuretikos "inventive," related to heuriskein "to find" (cognate with O.Ir. fuar "I have found"). Heuristics "study of heuristic methods," first recorded 1959.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

heuristic definition


1. A rule of thumb, simplification, or educated guess that reduces or limits the search for solutions in domains that are difficult and poorly understood. Unlike algorithms, heuristics do not guarantee optimal, or even feasible, solutions and are often used with no theoretical guarantee.
2. approximation algorithm.
(2001-04-12)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
This bias is called the availability heuristic.
The general heuristic is to only invest in the housing market if you plan on
  staying there for at least 5 years.
Within conservation biology they are a useful but essentially heuristic notion.
We mentally compare the additional cost to the pegged cost of the car, which is
  a fallacious heuristic.
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