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TMRCie
  • /tmerk'ee/, n. [MIT] A denizen of TMRC. to a first approximation [techspeak] When one is doing certain numerical computations, an approximate solution may be computed by any of several heuristic methods, then refined to a final value. By using the starting point of a first approximation of the answer, one can write an algorithm that converges more quickly to the correct result. 2. In jargon, a preface to any comment that indicates that the comment is only approximately true. The remark "To a first approximation, I feel good" might indicate that deeper questioning would reveal that not all is perfect (e. g. , a nagging cough still remains after an illness). to a zeroth approximation [from `to a first approximation'] A *really* sloppy approximation; a wild guess. Compare social science number.