Definitions
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
 n. The act, process, or result of approximating.
 n. Mathematics An inexact result adequate for a given purpose.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike License
 n. The act, process or result of approximating.
 n. An imprecise solution or result that is adequate for a defined purpose.
 n. The act of bringing together the edges of tissue to be sutured.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
 n. The act of approximating; a drawing, advancing or being near; approach; also, the result of approximating.
 n. An approach to a correct estimate, calculation, or conception, or to a given quantity, quality, etc.
 n.
 n. A continual approach or coming nearer to a result.
 n. A value that is nearly but not exactly correct.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
 n. The act of approximating; a drawing, moving, or advancing near in space, position, degree, or relation; approach; proximity.
 n. In mathematics and physical: A continual approach to a true result; the process by which the value of a quantity is calculated with continually increasing exactness without ever being actually ascertained
 n. A result so obtained; a result which is not rigorously exact, but is so near the truth as to be sufficient for a given purpose.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
 n. an approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth
 n. the act of bringing near or bringing together especially the cut edges of tissue
 n. the quality of coming near to identity (especially close in quantity)
 n. an imprecise or incomplete account
Etymologies
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Examples

So, a reasonable approximation is that oil prices should be expected to go up at the interest rate.
A Glimmer of Hope on Oil, Arnold Kling  EconLog  Library of Economics and Liberty

In early 20th century, with advances in approximation theory, spline functions were beginning to emerge.

Provided the approximation is done with enough significant digits, the numerator of the Bernoulli number is a mere integer part of the product.
Wolfram Blog : Today We Broke the Bernoulli Record: From the Analytical Engine to Mathematica

The approximation is obtained by partitioning the xaxis, thus slicing the region into narrow strips, then approximating each strip with a rectangle and summing all the resulting approximations to produce a Riemann sum.

I think the closest approximation is probably consciousness, though certain aspects of consciousness are also considered by some to be part of the animal retinue of nature.

There are real photos of the real thing, too  not some approximation from a newpaper's photo bank.

The nearest approximation is a black hole, a physicality so intense that nothing escapes from it.

He owed his throne to a cabal of landowners and merchants who were suffering from a fall in the price of grain, and he placated them by giving anyone in England the right to distill gin, or Geneva, as it was called, in an approximation of the Dutch word for the juniper berries used as flavoring.

Little or no Filipino element or sensibility, mostly European/Occidental mode, usually written in approximation of US fantasy bestseller, complete with conventions (and lots of snow).

So, a reasonable approximation is that oil prices should be expected ...
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