1. near or approaching a certain state, condition, goal, or standard.
  2. nearly exact; not perfectly accurate or correct: The approximate time was 10 o’clock.
  3. near; close together.
  4. very similar; nearly identical.

verb (used with object), ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing.

  1. to come near to; approach closely to: to approximate an ideal.
  2. to estimate: We approximated the distance at three miles.
  3. to simulate; imitate closely: The motions of the stars can be approximated in a planetarium.
  4. to bring near.

verb (used without object), ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing.

  1. to come near in position, character, amount, etc.

adjective (əˈprɒksɪmɪt)

  1. almost accurate or exact
  2. inexact; rough; looseonly an approximate fit
  3. much alike; almost the same
  4. near; close together

verb (əˈprɒksɪˌmeɪt)

  1. (usually foll by to) to come or bring near or close; be almost the same (as)
  2. maths to find an expression for (some quantity) accurate to a specified degreeSee accurate (def. 4)

early 15c., from Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare “to come near to,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + proximare “come near,” from proximus “nearest,” superlative of prope “near” (see propinquity).


early 15c., “to bring or put close,” from approximate (adj.). Meaning “to come close” is from 1789. Related: Approximated; approximating.


  1. To bring together, as cut edges of tissue.


  1. Relating to the contact surfaces, either proximal or distal, of two adjacent teeth; proximate.
  2. Close together. Used of the teeth in the human jaw.

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