in round numbers

Idioms & Phrases

in round numbers

Also, in round figures. As an approximate estimate. For example, How much will the new highway cost, in round numbers? or In round figures a diamond of this quality is worth five thousand dollars, but it depends on the market at the time of selling. This idiom, which uses round in the sense of "whole" or "rounded off," is sometimes used very loosely, as Thomas Hardy did in Far from the Madding Crowd (1874): "Well, ma'am, in round numbers, she's run away with the soldiers." [Mid-1600s] Also see ballpark figure.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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