Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Almost exact or correct.
  • adjective Very similar; closely resembling.
  • adjective Botany Close together but not united.
  • intransitive verb To come close to; be nearly the same as.
  • intransitive verb To bring near.
  • intransitive verb To bring together, as cut edges of tissue.
  • intransitive verb To come near or close, as in degree, nature, or quality.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Approaching; proximate; nearly resembling.
  • adjective Near correctness; nearly exact; not perfectly accurate.
  • adjective (Math.) those which are nearly, but not, equal.
  • intransitive verb To draw; to approach.
  • transitive verb To carry or advance near; to cause to approach.
  • transitive verb To come near to; to approach.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Late Latin approximātus, past participle of approximāre, to approach : Latin ad-, ad- + proximāre, to come near (from proximus, nearest; see per in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare ("to approach"); ad + proximare ("to come near"). See proximate.

Examples

  • The term approximate is used above by reason of the fact that no sharps or flats were written until long after this period, but it is thought that they were occasionally interpolated by the singers quite a long time before it became customary to put them into the notation.

    A Popular History of the Art of Music From the Earliest Times Until the Present

  • A couple of weeks ago, Channel 4's Time Team archaeology programme was investigating a Roman mansio, which they described as the approximate equivalent of a motel and wayside inn, in the South of England.

    Horseshoes in Roman and post-Roman use

  • A couple of weeks ago, Channel 4's Time Team archaeology programme was investigating a Roman mansio, which they described as the approximate equivalent of a motel and wayside inn, in the South of England.

    Archive 2006-04-01

  • The Magic Towns, in approximate order of their date of designation, are:

    Did you know? Mexico has 36 Magic Towns.

  • The Magic Towns, in approximate order of their date of designation, are:

    Did you know? Mexico has 36 Magic Towns.

  • There was the one about her walking home from school (uphill both ways in the snow) and seeing a man sitting on his “honkers” (the best translation we can approximate is “haunches” but it sounded much, much scarier with “honkers” inserted) on the side of the road.

    Believe | The Stiletto Gang

  • Most of all, they demonstrate how messy and approximate is the business of statecraft.

    The Courtier

  • Most of all, they demonstrate how messy and approximate is the business of statecraft.

    The Courtier

  • Most of all, they demonstrate how messy and approximate is the business of statecraft.

    The Courtier

  • Some of the words above seem deceptively simple, but more than often they have meanings that can only be expressed in approximate ways in other languages.

    Reflective Surface - Archives: 2004 June

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