The Abbreviation for Approximately: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Are you interested in knowing the common way to abbreviate the English word approximately? In this guide, we’ll be exploring what approximately means in English, how to properly abbreviate it, and the history behind the word. Also, we’ll discuss when to use the shorthand of approximately instead of the full word and include some helpful, real-world examples of the word used in a sentence, both in full and as an abbreviation.

First, let’s look at how one can abbreviate the word approximately in English.

There is only one common abbreviation for the word approximately:

  • Approx.

There is no plural abbreviation for this word because there are no plural forms of the word approximately. It’s also worth noting that the abbreviation for “approximable” is often written as apx. or apx, especially in mathematics and coding. However, in mathematics, apx is usually used in side notes for a document or formula rather than within the mathematical formula itself.

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What Does Approximately Mean?

According to, the definition of approximate is as follows:

“Approximate [ adjective uh-prok-suh-mit; verb uh-prok-suh-meyt] 


  1. near or approaching a certain state, condition, goal, or standard.
  2. nearly exact; not perfectly accurate or correct.
  3. near; close together.

 Verb (used with object)

  1. to come near to; approach closely to.
  2. to approximate an ideal.
  3. to estimate.

Verb (used without object)

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

Of course, approximately would be the adverb form of the word approximate. It would be used to modify adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs—and would mean, “in an approximate manner.” 

Synonyms for Approximately

  •     almost
  •     generally
  •     relatively
  •     roughly
  •     about
  •     around
  •     ballpark figure
  •     bordering on
  •     circa
  •     close to
  •     closely
  •     comparatively
  •     in the ballpark
  •     in the neighborhood of
  •     in the region of
  •     in the vicinity of
  •     just about
  •     loosely
  •     more or less
  •     most
  •     much
  •     not far from
  •     not quite
  •     proximately
  •     upwards of
  •     very close

The History of the Word

The Online Etymology Dictionary notes that the word approximate, the base word for approximately, has its roots as a verb in the early fifteenth century. It was derived from the Latin word approximatus, the past participle of the word approximare, which means “to come near to.” The intransitive meaning of the word approximately came about in around 1789. Approximate, as an adjective, which means “near in position or to come close to,” can be traced to around the year 1640. Approximate, meaning “near in accuracy or correctness,” began being commonly used in 1816. The word was also used in the early fifteenth century to mean “similar.”

When to Use the Abbreviation

In most cases, approx. is found within reports, notes, and forms. Approximately is also abbreviated for applications and any other documents where space is at a premium, prompting multiple word abbreviations. One may also find approx. in newspaper or publication headlines where space may be a concern.

Abbreviating approximately is not common in general prose (either formal or informal), and it is almost always resigned to the documents previously mentioned. In some cases, approx. may be written as approx, without a period denoting the abbreviation, but this is not grammatically correct. This abbreviation is most commonly seen within the context of casual note-taking.

Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

  • Common abbreviations for the word approximately include approx. and approx, though the latter isn’t grammatically correct.
  • We had approximately ten hours left to complete the project.
  • The case report read as clear as day, and I was shocked by the write-up. “Approx. 0800 hours – Victim is seen behaving strangely in the hotel elevator.”
  • The use of abbreviations confused her, as she was not accustomed to the English language at all. English abbreviations, such as approx. or AWOL, left her  scratching her head.
  • The enigmatic FBI agent was able to point out approximately where the aliens had made contact with our planet.
  • Note: Word count is approx. 150 words over the limit. This is a long article—too long for us to publish. 
  • Mary had a way with words, which made sense. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and was approximately five weeks away from getting her Doctor of Philosophy.
  • Since the class had approximately 2,000 students, he couldn’t remember everyone’s proper name.
  • Entry #5: Approx. 10:00pm, Saturday – There is little evidence that the treatment is working as theorized.
  • The private investigator leaned forward, eyeing the empty parking garage to make sure no one was in earshot. “Look,” he sympathized. “I can give you an approximate location in the United Kingdom, but I can’t give you any more details or go with you. It’s just too dangerous.”
  • It felt like we were waiting on the train platform forever. There really isn’t anything quite as annoying as having somewhere important to be, but your train is late. Finally, at approximately 1:30 p.m., we could see the incoming train in the distance.
  • In the United States, approximately 14.0% of all adults (which would be around 34.3 million people) are currently cigarette smokers, according to a national survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control.



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