1. Newbie
Join Date
Oct 2005
Posts
31

## Accurate or precise?

I'm trying to learn the difference between accurate and precise which, I assume, is subtle.

The context is : 'For a precise (accurate?) measurement of the room temperature, this thermometer requires waiting 1 minute'.

2. ## Re: Accurate or precise?

Originally Posted by rappiolla
I'm trying to learn the difference between accurate and precise which, I assume, is subtle.

The context is : 'For a precise (accurate?) measurement of the room temperature, this thermometer requires waiting 1 minute'.

***not a teacher***
I suppose "accurate" is used for something done/copied carefully, and just like what it was expected to be. And "precise" shows the exact amount, or the true detail of a number/temperature/time and so on.

Hope Sb will add some explanation.

3. ## Re: Accurate or precise?

I hope some dear posters correct me if I'm wrong. My interpretation is, in this case if we use "precise" for measurement, it'll refer to the result (which is a number) and how exact that number will be. And if "accurate" is used, it'll suggest that the action of measuring would be carefully done for a precise result.

Thanks.

4. ## Re: Accurate or precise?

They sometimes appear to be used as near-synonyms. The Concise Oxford Dictionary unhelpfully informs us:

accurate [...] 1. careful, precise
precise [...] 1a. accurately expressed

To me, 'accurate' carries an idea of 'correctness' that 'precise' does not, but this may be just a personal view.

5. Newbie
Join Date
Oct 2005
Posts
31

## Re: Accurate or precise?

Originally Posted by Mehrgan
I hope some dear posters correct me if I'm wrong. My interpretation is, in this case if we use "precise" for measurement, it'll refer to the result (which is a number) and how exact that number will be. And if "accurate" is used, it'll suggest that the action of measuring would be carefully done for a precise result.

Thanks.
This bears out what I thought: accurate has a meaning close to careful.

6. ## Re: Accurate or precise?

Originally Posted by rappiolla
This bears out what I thought: accurate has a meaning close to careful.
If I guess the age of someone as being "27 yrs, 4 mths and 3 days", that's a very precise guess. But if she's actually 25, "about 25" would be a more accurate, though less precise guess.

A micrometer can give a much more precise measurement than a ruler can. But if the micrometer is badly calibrated, the precise measurement might not be as accurate as ruler's measurement.

This explains it further:
Accuracy and precision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Last edited by Raymott; 16-Dec-2010 at 12:21.

7. VIP Member
Join Date
Apr 2009
Posts
8,273

## Re: Accurate or precise?

Accuracy is how close you are to hitting the mark. Precision is how repeatable you are.

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