process of finding an estimate, or approximation, which is a value that is usable for some purpose even if input data may be incomplete, uncertain, or unstable
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Estimates are calculated approximations of a result which is usable even if input data may be incomplete or uncertain.


  • We like to picture to ourselves the field of law as accurately mapped and plotted. We draw our little lines, and they are hardly down before we blur them. As in time and space, so here. Divisions are working hypotheses, adopted for convenience. … So also the duty of a judge becomes itself a question of degree, and he is a useful judge or a poor one as he estimates the measure accurately or loosely. He must balance all his ingredients, his philosophy, his logic, his analogies, his history, his customs, his sense of right, and all the rest, and adding a little here and taking out a little there, must determine, as wisely as he can, which weight shall tip the scales.
  • God estimates us, not by the position we are in, but by the way in which we fill it.
    • Tryon Edwards, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 203.
  • An estimated value is a precarious measure of justice, compared with the specific thing.
    • Lord Mansfield, Fisher v. Prince (1762), 3 Burr. Part IV. 1365; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 86.
  • But in our waking hours we must, if we are rational, make our decisions on the basis of the most objective and cold-blooded estimates that we can make: estimates of the forces and tendencies in the world about us; estimates of the realities with which we must deal; remembering always that nothing is likely to happen just because we think it's good, or unlikely to happen just because we think it's evil.
    • Revilo P. Oliver, "What We Owe Our Parasites", speech (June 1968); Free Speech magazine (October and November 1995).
  • Our leaders attempt to blame their failures on circumstances beyond their control, on false estimates by unknown, unidentifiable experts who rewrite modern history in an attempt to convince us our high standard of living, the result of thrift and hard work, is somehow selfish extravagance which we must renounce as we join in sharing scarcity.
  • Our estimates vary with our moods; the time may be much longer than our hopes and much shorter than our fears.
  • James T. Kirk: How much refit time before we can take her out again?
    Montgomery Scott: Eight weeks, Sir, [Kirk opens his mouth] but ya don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for ya in two.
    James T. Kirk: Mr.Scott. Have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?
    Montgomery Scott: Certainly, Sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?
    James T. Kirk: [over the intercom] Your reputation is secure, Scotty.
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