Definition of heuristic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌhjʊ(ə)ˈrɪstɪk/


1Enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves: a ‘hands-on’ or interactive heuristic approach to learning
More example sentences
  • This work will follow two complementary approaches, heuristic and machine learning.
  • Emotions, he says, are ‘our main heuristic guide to discovering moral truths’.
  • When we use the term ‘discourses’ we refer to a heuristic device which enables us to talk about configurations of metaphors, analogies and connotations.
1.1 Computing Proceeding to a solution by trial and error or by rules that are only loosely defined.
Example sentences
  • Using its rule base, SA performs a wide range of heuristic tests on email headers and body text to identify and score spam.
  • Other iterative heuristic rules that have been commonly used include the prioritization of sites by the rarity of the surrogates present in them.
  • His research interests include evolutionary computation, heuristic optimization, policy and strategic analysis, and social algorithms.


1A heuristic process or method.
Example sentences
  • It should be pointed out that this process is a heuristic.
  • Here are the heuristics we use in determining what level someone is at.
  • Like everything else in sociology, it's a fuzzy heuristic.
1.1 (heuristics) [usually treated as singular] The study and use of heuristic techniques.
Example sentences
  • An example is the use in military affairs of an ancient enough science, heuristics.
  • A serious problem with ‘mathematical idea analysis’ is that heuristics cannot distinguish true results from false ones.
  • This is an application of heuristics, learning from practical experience.



Example sentences
  • My layered theoretical approach, moving heuristically from individuals to social relationships to wider social structures, was reflected in the multiple readings employed within this analytic strategy.
  • By restricting the search space heuristically, the algorithms can handle larger number of sequences.
  • The number of sessions needed and the type of treatment carried out were determined heuristically, depending partly on the nature of the symptoms and partly on patients' priorities.


Early 19th century: formed irregularly from Greek heuriskein 'find'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: heur|is¦tic

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