Definition of approximant in English:



  • 1Mathematics
    A function, series, or other expression which is an approximation to the solution of a problem.

    • ‘Applied mathematicians have found that by approximating functions by continued function expansions, called Padé approximants, they often obtain far more accurate low-order approximations than by using Taylor series expansions.’
    • ‘In 1899 Padé published another major work on Padé approximants which, as we noted above, looked in depth at approximants of the exponential function.’
  • 2Phonetics
    A consonant produced by bringing one articulator (the tongue or lips) close to another without actually touching it, as in English r and w.

    • ‘The approximant r can also be regarded as a glide.’
    • ‘It is phonologically impossible since Tamil has no [z] sound and since the retroflex approximant sometimes romanized < z > cannot appear in initial position.’