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While trying to write about an experiment I have done, I am having trouble deciding which words are appropriate for describing what I want to describe.

In non-scientific English, precise, and accurate have mostly overlapping meaning, as evidenced by the jisho entry for 正確 containing all three.

However, when using these words in a formal setting, the difference in meaning becomes more apparent. I was hoping to know if anyone has knowledge on what Japanese words would be used or how they are used to convey a similar difference while speaking Japanese.


A brief delineation of what I consider the differences between the three words:

accuracy: A measure of how much a method/machine gives repeated results clustered around the true answer.

precision: A measure of how much a measurement method/machine gives repeated results close to each other.

(These are the nouns rather than the adjectives, but I found the nouns less wordy to define)

See image for visualization:

illustration of the differences of precision and accuracy

So, if anyone has insight into how to express these terms in Japanese, both accurately and precisely, that would be appreciated!

Edit: If there is also common words for the opposite of these concepts (i.e. inaccurate or imprecise) those would be useful too.

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    I think you mean 正確, not 性格. In any case, I went to the Wikipedia article titled "Accuracy and Precision" and changed the language to Japanese. ja.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Leebo
    Jul 12 '19 at 4:16
  • Yep! I pressed that enter key too fast, my bad
    – katatahito
    Jul 12 '19 at 4:18
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In scientific contexts where accuracy and precision are clearly distinguished, use:

  • accurate = 正確(な); accuracy = 正確性/正確度
  • precise = 精密(な); precision = 精密性/精密度

精度 is also used to translate precision, but since it's defined inconsistently in some areas, I personally do not prefer this term when the distinction is important.

Reference: 正確度と精度

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