Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Conforming exactly to fact; errorless.
  • adj. Deviating only slightly or within acceptable limits from a standard.
  • adj. Capable of providing a correct reading or measurement: an accurate scale.
  • adj. Acting or performing with care and precision; meticulous: an accurate proofreader.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. In exact or careful conformity to truth; the result of care or pains; free from failure, error, or defect; exact; as, an accurate calculator; an accurate measure; accurate expression, knowledge, etc.
  • adj. Deviating only slightly or within acceptable limits.
  • adj. Precisely fixed; executed with care; careful.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. In exact or careful conformity to truth, or to some standard of requirement, the result of care or pains; free from failure, error, or defect; exact
  • adj. Precisely fixed; executed with care; careful.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Characterized by extreme care; hence, in exact conformity to truth, or to a standard or rule, or to a model; free from error or defect; exact: as, an accurate account; accurate measure; an accurate expression; an accurate calculator or observer.
  • Determinate; precisely fixed.
  • Synonyms Accurate, Correct, Exact, Precise, Nice, careful, particular, true, faithful, strict, painstaking, unerring. Of these words correct is the feeblest; it is barely more than not faulty, as tested by some standard or rule. Accurate implies careful and successful endeavor to be correct: as, an accurate accountant, and, by extension of the meaning, accurate accounts; an accurate likeness. Exact is stronger, carrying the accuracy down to minute details: as, an exact likeness. It is more commonly used of things, while precise is used of persons: as, the exact truth; he is very precise in his ways. Precise may represent an excess of nicety, but exact and accurate rarely do so: as, she is prim and precise. As applied more specifically to the processes and results of thought and investigation, exact means absolutely true; accurate, up to a limited standard of truth; precise, as closely true as the utmost care will secure. Thus, the exact ratio of the circumference to the diameter cannot be stated, but the value 3.14159265 is accurate to eight places of decimals, which is sufficiently precise for the most refined measurements. Nice emphasizes the attention paid to minute and delicate points, often in a disparaging sense: as, he is more nice than wise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of ideas, images, representations, expressions) characterized by perfect conformity to fact or truth ; strictly correct
  • adj. conforming exactly or almost exactly to fact or to a standard or performing with total accuracy

Etymologies

Latin accūrātus, done with care, past participle of accūrāre, to do with care : ad-, ad- + cūrāre, to care for (from cūra, care; see cure).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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