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  • Do not merge. The concepts are distinct, with approximation being used in many types of logical and qualitative contexts where the term estimation would be inappropriate. For instance, the term approximate inference, or its equivalent in one language or another, has been used since Classical times to describe inductive reasoning and abductive reasoning (e.g. diagnosis and hypothesis formation). Jon Awbrey 15:22, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Do not merge An approximation may apply to a dynamic system whereas an estimation is implied to be a singular value. -- 09:46, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Don't merge but do cross-reference. I checked the semantics with Webster's 3rd International Dictionary of the English Language. If estimation is a process that results in an estimate, is approximation is a process that results in an approximate? Uh, oh. You can use an approximation of an estimation process, but you can't use an estimate of the approximation process. That helps a lot, right? Or does it just sound like a game of word twist befuddlement? --Jrgetsin 03:10, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Don't merge . Estimation is an industry practice , approximation is not. -- Satheesan Varier
  • Don't merge. These are very different from a scientific standpoint.
  • Don't merge. -- Petri Krohn 16:59, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Don't merge. (1) What term will you use to describe shape similarity when size and numbers are different, and shape varies while similarity remains? 'Shape approximation" or 'shape estimation'? (2)The word 'estimately' has not been found in Cambridge or Webster's international dictonaries I own. A Google search returned 100,000 times more frequent usage of 'approximately' than 'estimately'. C. Trifle 3 November 2006

Approximately vs Almost[edit]

Unicode has two different characters for such a situation. "Approximately equal to" ≅ (tilde, bar, bar) and "Almost equal to" ≈ (tilde tilde). What's the precise difference? McKay 16:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Of course there isn't a single meaning for any of these symbols. You can use just about any symbol for an equivalence relation if defined so. The one you're talking about is usually read as congruency. I don't know if it has this other common meaning, but it would be rarer. There's also another symbol that's used for approximations, not in the article, which is an equals sign with diagonal dots, one above and one below. 20:04, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
While taking a Calculus course in High School I recall my teacher mentioning using the " double tidles" for approximations, and he mentioned another symbol which I forgot the name of, however, it looked like a dot on top of a line (Similar to the upper "half" of a division symbol). For the life of me I can't remember its name, but I'm pretty sure it rhymmed with zero.. could anyone verify? Zulu Inuoe 20:44, 4 September 2007 (UTC) EDIT: I didn't notice the person above me asked the same question, I apologize for that. Zulu Inuoe 20:46, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so, if either can be used, why not mention both in the article? McKay (talk) 22:21, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

What about the symbol that looks like = but with a single dot above it in the middle? I've seen that in textbooks, and also at, though I've also seen it mean "approaches the limit" (U02250). This reference seems authoritative: (talk) 08:35, 14 May 2009 (UTC)


"...such as the number π, which often is shortened to 3.14, or √7 as ≈ 2.65..." I think √7 is an approximation for e, not for π. That would probably be useful to note because there may be people who understand it as meaning that π is close to 2.65. It is also maybe useful to add 22/7 as approximation for π. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mverleg (talkcontribs) 15:08, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

tilde,bar ?[edit]

I thought the symbol was a single tilde on top of a single dash, but I don't see it anywhere in this article, what is that symbol then? --TiagoTiago (talk) 14:28, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Double tilde[edit]

Usage over at asymptotic equivalence contradicts the discussion about the double tilde (≈) in this article. I'm not an expert on this, but would love to see some consistency (or acknowledgment of the potential for inconsistency) in the treatment. Discussion at that article suggests that the symbology is more a matter of fashion/style than correctness. /ninly(talk) 05:20, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I also find this article inconsistent with other wikipedia articles discussing notation, approximation and asymptotic equivalence, etc. For example, "It is incorrect, though, to write √7 ≈ 2.65 in mathematics."
The ISO 31-11 page says ≈ means "is approximately equal to" which conflicts with the statement just quoted. The Unicode standard says ≈ is "almost equal to" (= "asymptotic to") but "asymptotically equal to" is U+2243. The choice of ≈ being ≈ in HTML may be somewhat arbitrary, cf.
And I'm not sure what "genuine mathematics" is supposed to mean. This should be clarified. Are they referring to a convention among western mathematicians? Unicode? ISO standards? Modern style guides from academic publishers that regularly publish mathematics material...?
There's a certain level of rigor needed in discussing these topics. Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to clean it up myself -- that's why I'm here to begin with :) -- but it needs a rigorous treatment to be useful to the reader. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree with all said above. The article "Table of mathematical symbol" also shows ≈ as approximately equal and ~ as asymptotically equivalent. And the S.I. also uses ≈ as approximately equal, shown in it's brochure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:21, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely agree. I have published work with ~ as asymptotically equal and ≈ as approximately equal as that is common in my field of mathematics but other authors I know use the opposite. I have altered the article to reflect this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I think it needs to be addressed by somebody who knows or by someone who sets standards. I would assume "=" was "approximately equal" because i was taught that 3+4=7 not 3+4≈7 in school. So i think the ≈ symbol should be "almost equal" because "approx" is already taken. Charlieb000 (talk) 23:18, 5 April 2014 (UTC)


Always though it meant bacon. :3 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

(Never Mind) Disambiguation Needed [edit]

Edit: Someone stupid doesn't know how to read. Sorry about that! *genius.jpg* (talk) 02:14, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I typed "approximate" in the search bar and was redirected to "Approximation" from the "Approximate" page. I was looking for the linguistics term and did not expect this. (Actually, I was expecting the disambiguation page.)

And @Bacon (above): Wait, what is this I don't even... (talk) 02:07, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Behavious or Behaviours?[edit]

In the third paragraph, "... many physical behavious -e.g. gravity ..", the word behavious looks like a typo intended to be behaviours. However, it appears to have been corrected in the past and then reverted by another editor. Is this a new technical term that is not in an dictionary or just a typo or a hoax word? Unless I hear otherwise and no one edits it in the next few days, I will amend it. Kooky2 (talk) 22:30, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Approximation algorithms[edit]

The concept of approximation shows up in computer science in approximation algorithms. Perhaps this could be mentioned. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:34, 26 October 2016 (UTC)