1. Almost exact or correct: the approximate time of the accident.
2. Very similar; closely resembling: sketched an approximate likeness of the suspect.
3. Botany Close together but not united.
v. (-māt′) ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing, ap·prox·i·mates
1. To come close to; be nearly the same as: This meat substitute approximates the real thing.
2. To bring near.
3. To bring together, as cut edges of tissue.
To come near or close, as in degree, nature, or quality.
[Middle English, from Late Latin approximātus, past participle of approximāre, to approach : Latin ad-, ad- + proximāre, to come near (from proximus, nearest; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.