There is a variable in my code that I don't how to name. As its value increases, the precision (of some calculations) decreases. I feel like it would be misleading if I called it "precision" but I can't think of the opposite. For a moment I thought about granularity but I am not sure if that is better.

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    I guess you could call it imprecision (or inaccuracy, uncertainty_factor, etc.), but naming program variables is normally considered Off Topic for ELL. Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 15:58
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    Precision is a quality, and like any other quality there can be more or less of it. The specifics of a problem dictate what is precise or not. Things outside of a given range may be labeled imprecise, but even imprecise things have the quality of precision, though it may be of a very low order.
    – Robusto
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 16:10
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    Would uncertainty work?
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 16:36
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    Perhaps dispersion is what you're looking for? Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 18:12
  • How about precision loss? Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 22:32

3 Answers 3


Perhaps looseness would serve your purpose?

M-W offers one of the following definitions for the adjective loose:

6 a : lacking in precision, exactness, or care * loose brushwork * loose usage

and also provides an associated noun:

— looseness noun

This word has the advantage of being the same part of speech as precision, so it can be dropped right in as a substitute without requiring that your sentence be rewritten. So, for example, you could say:

As the measurement's precision increases, its looseness decreases.

As the measurement's looseness increases, its precision decreases.

The precision of this component's manufacture is very high.

The looseness of our current quality control procedure is unacceptable.


You might try "slack" or "fuzz". They have a long tradition in programming history. (And yes, variable naming is a somewhat esoteric little sub-dialect of English)


What about tolerance? High tolerance can mean low precision for measuring devices as explained in this link:

Tolerance and Measurement Accuracy

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