meaning of to a first approximation

1. to a first approximation 1. 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. [Jargon File] toast 1. Any completely inoperable system or component, especially one that has just crashed and burned: "Uh, oh . . . I think the serial board is toast. " 2. To cause a system to crash accidentally, especially in a manner that requires manual rebooting. "Rick just toasted the firewall machine again. " Compare fried.

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