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I'm wondering if there is a word that means to approximate a number to the closest multiple of x. For example, if I'm approximating to the nearest multiple of 32, then 24.7 would be approximated to 32 and 70 would be approximated to 64, etc.

Is there a more specific word than approximate for this?

Example:

...then I ****** the value to the nearest multiple of 32 in order to...

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    I think rounded will work here.. Nov 15, 2016 at 18:57

2 Answers 2

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This is just rounding.

For example, for 17.3, you can say round to the nearest whole number (17), nearest multiple of 5 (15) or nearest multiple of 10 (20).

There's no reason you can't round to the nearest multiple of 32.

In fact, if you wanted to do this in Excel, you would use the MROUND() function.

https://www.google.com/search?q=excel+mround

For example: MROUND(17.3, 32)

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Though "rounding to the nearest multiple of 32" works fine in this specific context, the term "rounding" by itself usually implies that the rounding is being done to some power of 10.

If it is desired to avoid this implication in a more succinct manner than appending a phrase like "to the nearest multiple of n", consider the word "quantize", which commonly appears in the context of signal processing. It is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as

Approximate (a continuously varying signal) by one whose amplitude is restricted to a prescribed set of values.

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  • "usually implies that the rounding is being done to some power of 10." Nope.
    – Phil Sweet
    Nov 15, 2016 at 22:14
  • The term rounding by itself usually means to round to the nearest 1. For example, to round 2.7 would be three, in the absence of any further instruction.
    – Eli
    Nov 15, 2016 at 22:44
  • @PhilSweet You're not giving me much to argue against with such a flat refusal, but I would point out that the exponent of the power of ten in question might be zero or negative, as in 10^0=1 (as Eli points out) or 10^-2=.01 ("rounded to two decimal places"). Nov 15, 2016 at 23:04
  • How does that address rounding to the nearest multiple of 32, for example? Nov 15, 2016 at 23:23
  • @DougWarren Now I see where you were going. If I round 3.14159 to 3.14, that is not called "rounding to some power of ten", that is called "rounding to two decimal places". Make the edit and I'll remove the downvote.
    – Phil Sweet
    Nov 16, 2016 at 0:11

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