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

  • adj. Almost exact or correct: the approximate time of the accident.
  • adj. Very similar; closely resembling: sketched an approximate likeness of the suspect.
  • adj. Botany Close together but not united.
  • transitive v. To come close to; be nearly the same as: This meat substitute approximates the real thing.
  • transitive v. To bring near.
  • transitive v. To bring together, as cut edges of tissue.
  • intransitive v. To come near or close, as in degree, nature, or quality.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Approaching; proximate; nearly resembling.
  • adj. Near correctness; nearly exact; not perfectly accurate.
  • v. To carry or advance near; to cause to approach.
  • v. To come near to; to approach.
  • v. To estimate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Approaching; proximate; nearly resembling.
  • adj. Near correctness; nearly exact; not perfectly accurate.
  • intransitive v. To draw; to approach.
  • transitive v. To carry or advance near; to cause to approach.
  • transitive v. To come near to; to approach.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To carry or bring near; advance closely upon; cause to approach in position, quality, character, condition, etc.
  • To come near; approach closely; figuratively, to stand in intimate relation; be remarkably similar.
  • Near in position; near to; close together.
  • In botany, said of leaves or other organs that stand near together.
  • Near in character; very similar: as, a statement closely approximate to a falsehood.
  • Nearly approaching accuracy or correctness; nearly precise, perfect, or complete: as, an approximate result; approximate values.

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

  • v. be close or similar
  • adj. located close together
  • v. judge tentatively or form an estimate of (quantities or time)
  • adj. not quite exact or correct
  • adj. very close in resemblance


Middle English, from Late Latin approximātus, past participle of approximāre, to approach : Latin ad-, ad- + proximāre, to come near (from proximus, nearest; see per1 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare ("to approach"); ad + proximare ("to come near"). See proximate. (Wiktionary)


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