I want a word or two that essentially say: 'The best we can do given limitations', I am thinking something along the lines of 'optimal solution under constraints', but this is also long.

Any ideas?

Context is that some engineering methods are really good, but certain problems can't be solved with their own methods, since no unique methods have been found, but the problem can be solved by putting it into another model of a similar nature, giving us the best result we can obtain.

3 Answers 3


We can't use Method A for this. At best, we can rely on method B to make approximations.

"At best" explains that it's the best possible option currently available, without explicitly saying that the workaround is sufficient (it could be insufficient, but still the best you can do given the circumstances).

Edit Added reference to definition

at best

in the most favorable view; in the most positive judgment; as the best one can say.

At best we found their visit pleasantly short.
The dinner was not at all pleasant. At best the food was not burned.

  • It looks like nothing really fits this perfectly. At best we can use the phrase 'at best' to represent it is the best we can do. Thanks
    – user95858
    Apr 27, 2015 at 23:36

The closest phrases I can think of are "best possible" and "best attainable."


You could say that existing methods give a bounded approximation, with a high confidence factor, of the true optmal value/solution.

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