# Dictionary Definition

approximate adj

1 not quite exact or correct; "the approximate
time was 10 o'clock"; "a rough guess"; "a ballpark estimate" [syn:
approximative,
rough]

2 very close in resemblance; "sketched in an
approximate likeness"; "a near likeness" [syn: near]

3 located close together; "with heads close
together"; "approximate leaves grow together but are not united"
[syn: close
together(p)]

### Verb

1 be close or similar; "Her results approximate
my own" [syn: come
close]

2 judge tentatively or form an estimate of
(quantities or time); "I estimate this chicken to weigh three
pounds" [syn: estimate,
gauge, guess, judge]

# User Contributed Dictionary

## English

### Etymology

From approximatus, past participle of approximare; ad + proximare. See proximate.### Pronunciation

**### Adjective

- Approaching; proximate; nearly resembling.
- Near correctness; nearly exact; not perfectly accurate.
- Approximate results or values.

#### Derived terms

#### Quotations

To help carry out its mission, NASA's Genesis
spacecraft has on board an ion monitor to record the speed,
density, temperature and approximate composition of the solar wind
ions.

#### Translations

Approaching; proximate; nearly resembling

- Czech: přibližný
- Finnish: arvioida, likiarvoinen
- French: approximant
- German: annähernd, ungefähr, zirka, circa
- Portuguese: aproximar-se

Near correctness; nearly exact; not perfectly
accurate;

### Verb

- To estimate.

#### Quotations

When you follow two deparate chains of thought,
Watson, you will find some point of intersection which should
approximate to the truth.— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The
Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax

#### Translations

to carry or advance near; to cause to approach

- Finnish: lähentää
- French: approximer
- German: annähern

to come near to; to approach

- Finnish: lähentyä, lähestyä
- French: approximer
- German: annähern, annähernd erreichen

to estimate

- Finnish: arvioida, approksimoida, estimoida

# Extensive Definition

An approximation (represented by the symbol ≈) is
an inexact
representation of something that is still close enough to be
useful. Although approximation is most often applied to numbers, it is also frequently
applied to such things as mathematical
functions, shapes, and
physical
laws.

Approximations may be used because incomplete
information prevents
use of exact representations. Many problems in physics are either
too complex to solve analytically, or impossible to solve. Thus,
even when the exact representation is known, an approximation may
yield a sufficiently accurate solution while reducing the
complexity of the problem significantly.

For instance, physicists often approximate
the shape of the Earth as a sphere even though more accurate
representations are possible, because many physical
behaviours—e.g. gravity—are much
easier to calculate for a sphere than for less regular
shapes.

The problem consisting of two or more planets
orbiting around a sun has no exact solution. Often, ignoring the
gravitational effects of the planets gravitational pull on each
other and assuming that the sun does not move achieve a good
approximation. The use of perturbations to correct for the errors
can yield more accurate solutions. Simulations of the motions of
the planets and the star also yields more accurate solutions.

The type of approximation used depends on the
available information, the degree of
accuracy required, the sensitivity of the problem to this data, and
the savings (usually in time and effort) that can be achieved by
approximation.

## Science

The scientific method is carried out with a constant interaction between scientific laws (theory) and empirical measurements, which are constantly compared to one another.The approximation also refers to using a simpler
process. This model is used to make predictions easier. The most
common versions of philosophy
of science accept that empirical measurements are always
approximations—they do not perfectly represent what is
being measured. The history
of science indicates that the scientific laws commonly felt to
be true at any time in history are only approximations to some
deeper set of laws. For example, attempting to resolve a model
using outdated physical
laws alone incorporates an inherent source of error, which
should be corrected by approximating the quantum effects not
present in these laws.

Each time a newer set of laws is proposed, it is
required that in the limiting
situations in which the older set of laws were tested against
experiments, the
newer laws are nearly identical to the older laws, to within the
measurement
uncertainties of the older measurements. This is the correspondence
principle.

## Mathematics

<div id="shortcut" class="noprint" style="border:1px solid #999; background:#fff; margin:0 0 .5em 1em; text-align:center; padding:5px; float:right; clear:right; font-size:smaller;">≈ (formal)

~ (informal)
symbols representing approximation. Approximation usually occurs
when an exact form or an exact numerical number is unknown. However
some known form may exist and may be able to represent the real
form so that no significant deviation can be found. Numerical
approximations sometimes result from using a small number of
significant digits.
Approximation
theory is a branch of mathematics, a quantitative part of
functional
analysis. Diophantine
approximation deals with approximation to real numbers
by rational
numbers. The symbol "≈" means "approximately equal to"; tilde
(~) and the Libra
sign (* Congruence

## References

approximate in Breton: Tostadur

approximate in Czech: Aproximace

approximate in Danish: Approksimation

approximate in German: Approximation

approximate in Esperanto: Proksimuma
kalkulado

approximate in French: Approximation

approximate in Icelandic: Námundun

approximate in Italian: Approssimazione

approximate in Dutch: Benadering

approximate in Japanese: 近似

approximate in Polish: Aproksymacja

approximate in Portuguese: Aproximação

approximate in Russian: Аппроксимация

approximate in Simple English:
Approximation

approximate in Finnish: Approksimaatio

approximate in Swedish: Approximation

approximate in Ukrainian:
Апроксимація

# Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accost,
advance, advancing, ape, appear like, approach, approaching, appropinquate, approximating, approximative, arm-in-arm,
assimilate, attracted
to, be around, be like, be near, be redolent of, bear down on, bear
down upon, bear resemblance, bear up, begin to, bring near, bring
to mind, burning,
call, call to mind, call
up, cheek-by-jowl, close,
close in, close with, come,
come close, come closer, come forward, come near, come on, come up,
coming, comparable, compare with,
confront, connaturalize, copy, correspond, counterfeit, draw near, draw
nigh, drawn to, encounter, estimated, evoke, favor, follow, forthcoming, gain upon, get
warm, hand-in-hand, homologous, hot, imitate, imminent, imprecise, inaccurate, incorrect, inexact, intimate, judge, lax, like, look like, loose, match, mimic, mirror, much at one, much the
same, narrow the gap, near,
near the mark, nearing,
nearish, nearly
reproduce, nearly the same, negligent, nigh, nighish, not tell apart,
oncoming, out of line,
out of plumb, out of square, out of true, parallel, partake of, place, propinque, proximal, proximate, put, quasi, reckon, relatable, relative, remind one of,
resemble, rough, rude, same but different, savor of,
seem like, side-by-side, sidle up to, similar, similarize, simulate, smack of, sound like,
stack up with, step up, suggest, take after, to come,
unfactual, unprecise, unrigorous, upcoming, verge on, vicinal, warm