Definitions

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

  • noun The state or quality of being precise; exactness.
  • noun The ability of a measurement to be consistently reproduced.
  • noun The number of significant digits to which a value has been reliably measured.
  • adjective Used or intended for accurate or exact measurement.
  • adjective Made so as to vary minimally from a set standard.
  • adjective Of or characterized by accurate action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The quality or state of being precise, exact, or definite as to form or meaning; distinctness; accuracy.
  • noun In logic: Freedom from inessential elements.
  • noun The separation from anything of extrinsic elements.

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

  • noun The quality or state of being precise; exact limitation; exactness; accuracy; strict conformity to a rule or a standard; definiteness.

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

  • noun the state of being precise or exact; exactness
  • noun the ability of a measurement to be reproduced consistently
  • noun mathematics the number of significant digits to which a value may be measured reliably
  • adjective used for exact or precise measurement
  • adjective made, or characterized by accuracy

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

  • noun the quality of being reproducible in amount or performance

Etymologies

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

[Latin praecīsiō, praecīsiōn-, a cutting off, from praecīsus, past participle of praecīdere, to cut off; see precise.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French precision.

Examples

  • Using Attributional Similarity to Solve Analogies  number of correct guesses precision = total number of guesses made  number of correct guesses recall = maximum possible number correct 2 x precision x recall  F = precision recall

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  • The term precision is considered as a component of accuracy, related to the scale, resolution, and also to the generalization of datasets.

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  • Our new foreign policy is what I call precision power.

    Mayhill Fowler: The New Strategy for Obama's War: Precision Power

  • Details very sketchy at this hour but U.S. officials confirming overnight there was what they call a precision missile strike against a target in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, a target that they say was in an area where there were known terrorists, al Qaeda terrorists with affiliations.

    CNN Transcript Mar 3, 2008

  • Now, earlier today, the U.S. military launched what it calls a precision air strike.

    CNN Transcript Sep 25, 2004

  • The 53-second clip provides a rare look at how the U.S. uses what it calls precision air strikes in urban areas to support ground operations.

    CNN Transcript Oct 11, 2004

  • If you remember in the Gulf War, about 10 percent of our munitions were what we call precision-guided munitions; in Operations Allied Force about 90 percent of our munitions were guided munitions.

    CNN Transcript Oct 8, 2001

  • The cost to produce the bug, which he characterized as precision handwork within the knowledge and competence of a handful of men, he estimated at $30,000 per unit.

    Will

  • AlCuMet makes what it calls precision castings out of aluminum and other alloys for the military, aerospace and other industries.

    WCAX - Local News

  • Our new foreign policy is what I call precision power.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Comments

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  • Here's an example of precision for you:

    Consider telescope mirrors:

    "Both mirrors for telescopes on the 'big island' of Hawaii are light-years beyond everyday concepts of precision. Ground and polished for four years...the Subaru mirror surface has been smoothed to within about half a millionth of an inch. The surface of Gemini...is precise to within a thousandth of the diameter of a human hair. To make such perfection easier to imagine, if the Big Island could be leveled and polished as evenly (in proportion) as the Subaru mirror, the biggest bump would be no higher than the thickness of two sheets of paper. If the entire earth could be smoothed to the same accuracy as Gemini, the tallest hill would be less than a foot high."

    --Howard Daniel, Pen4Rent

    August 29, 2007

  • precision, n.

    <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/04/is-uk-claim-zero-civilian-casualties-iraq-airstrikes-credible">The Guardian, 4 December 2015</a>:

    There is confusion over the way the military uses terminology. “Precision means you can hit the object you wanted to hit and nothing else. Accuracy means that the object is indeed what you thought it was,” Joshi said.

    “You can have a very precise strike on a suspected truck carrying militants, but it would be inaccurate if it turned out to be carrying civilians. Missiles can be precise, but only intelligence and surveillance can bring accuracy. This distinction is being lost.”

    December 31, 2015