Meaning of APPROXIMATE in English

I. ap ‧ prox ‧ i ‧ mate 1 S3 W3 AC /əˈprɒksəmət, əˈprɒksɪmət $ əˈprɑːk-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ approximate ; noun : ↑ approximation ; adverb : ↑ approximately ; adjective : ↑ approximate ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Late Latin ; Origin: past participle of approximare 'to come near to' , from Latin ad- 'to' + proximare 'to come near' ]

an approximate number, amount, or time is close to the exact number, amount etc, but could be a little bit more or less than it SYN rough OPP exact :

What is the approximate number of students in each class?

These percentages are only approximate.


In everyday English, people usually say rough rather than approximate :

Can you give me a rough idea of how much it would cost?

• • •


▪ approximately more or less than a number or amount – used especially in technical or scientific contexts:

The company had total revenues of approximately $2 million.


The disease affects approximately 10% of the adult population.

▪ about more or less than a number or amount. ‘About’ is the usual word to use in everyday English:

It costs about $30 to get a visa.


There were about 50 people at the meeting.

▪ roughly /ˈrʌfli/ about – used when you are trying to give someone a general idea of the size, amount, or number of something:

The two countries are roughly the same size.


Roughly how many miles do you travel a year?

▪ around about a number or time – used when you are guessing:

I’ll be there around 5 o'clock.


The BBC broadcasts around 2,000 radio dramas every year.

▪ somewhere/something in the region of formal about – used with very large numbers or amounts:

Last year he earned something in the region of $60 million.


It costs somewhere in the region of £100,000 to train a new doctor.

▪ or so informal about – used after a period of time, a number, or an amount:

The journey takes an hour or so.

▪ circa /ˈsɜːkə $ ˈsɜːr-/ formal about – used with dates a long time ago in the past:

The house was built circa 1530.

▪ or more used after a number or amount, when the total may be a lot more:

A thirty-second commercial can cost £60,000 or more.

▪ upwards of more than a number or amount:

The aircraft can carry upwards of 400 passengers.

—approximately adverb :

The plane will be landing in approximately 20 minutes.

How much do you think it will cost, approximately?

II. ap ‧ prox ‧ i ‧ mate 2 AC /əˈprɒksəmeɪt, əˈprɒksɪmeɪt $ əˈprɑːk-/ BrE AmE verb [intransitive, linking verb] formal

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ approximate ; noun : ↑ approximation ; adverb : ↑ approximately ; adjective : ↑ approximate ]

1 . to be close to a particular number

approximate to

This figure approximates to a quarter of the UK’s annual consumption.

2 . to be similar to but not exactly the same as something

approximate to

Your story only approximates to the real facts.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.