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Estimate vs. Predict: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 4, 2023
"Estimate" means to make an approximate calculation or judgment, while "Predict" involves forecasting a future event or outcome based on evidence or reasoning.

Key Differences

Both Estimate and Predict revolve around projecting or deducing something that isn't immediately certain. "Estimate" commonly deals with determining approximate numbers, values, or extents based on available data. In contrast, "Predict" leans towards foretelling specific outcomes, events, or trends based on insights, patterns, or evidence.
In their everyday application, when you Estimate, you're trying to gauge or measure something without exact precision. It's more about reaching a general understanding. On the other hand, when you Predict, you're anticipating a certain outcome or event, using the data, trends, or patterns you've observed.
The origins of the words also offer insights. Estimate is derived from the Latin 'aestimare', meaning to value or appraise. This highlights its association with valuation. Predict, however, comes from the Latin 'praedīcere', meaning "to foretell," emphasizing its forecasting nature.
From a grammatical standpoint, both Estimate and Predict can function as verbs. However, "Estimate" can also be a noun, as in "an estimate of the costs". "Predict" remains primarily verb-centric in its usage.
In specialized fields, Estimate often has a connotation of calculated approximations, especially in areas like construction, finance, or statistics. Predict, conversely, has strong ties to fields that focus on forecasting, such as meteorology, finance, and even machine learning.

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Approximate calculation or judgment
Forecasting a future event based on evidence


From Latin 'aestimare' (to value)
From Latin 'praedīcere' (to foretell)

Grammatical Usage

Can be both noun and verb
Primarily used as a verb

Associated Fields

Construction, finance, statistics
Meteorology, finance, machine learning

Level of Certainty

Provides a general range or approximation
Anticipates specific outcomes based on analysis

Estimate and Predict Definitions


Rough calculation or judgment.
The estimate for the project's completion is 6 months.


Declare a future event in advance.
Meteorologists predict rain tomorrow.


A statement of approximate cost.
The contractor gave an estimate of $10,000.


Foretell based on evidence or reasoning.
Analysts predict a rise in stock prices.


A general impression or assessment.
The painting's value was beyond any estimate.


Anticipate or expect a specific result.
The data allows us to predict user behavior.


An educated guess based on available information.
Scientists made an estimate on the species' population.


Make a projection about a future outcome.
It's hard to predict the game's result.


A prediction of the probable cost.
The auto repair shop's estimate seemed reasonable.


To indicate as likely to occur.
The dark clouds predict a storm.


To calculate approximately (the amount, extent, magnitude, position, or value of something).


To state, tell about, or make known in advance, especially on the basis of special knowledge
Predicted an active hurricane season because of warmer ocean-surface temperatures.


To form an opinion about; evaluate
"While an author is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance" (Samuel Johnson).


To foretell something.


A tentative evaluation or rough calculation, as of worth, quantity, or size
An estimate of the damage caused by the storm.


(transitive) To make a prediction: to forecast, foretell, or estimate a future event on the basis of knowledge and reasoning; to prophesy a future event on the basis of mystical knowledge or power.


A statement of the approximate cost of work to be done, such as a building project or car repairs.


To imply.


A judgment based on one's impressions; an opinion
I have a high estimate of his character.


(intransitive) To make predictions.


A rough calculation or assessment of the value, size, or cost of something.


To direct a ranged weapon against a target by means of a predictor.


(construction and business) A document (or verbal notification) specifying how much a job is likely to cost.


(obsolete) A prediction.


An upper limitation on some positive quantity.


To tell or declare beforehand; to foretell; to prophesy; to presage; as, to predict misfortune; to predict the return of a comet.


To calculate roughly, often from imperfect data.


A prediction.


To judge and form an opinion of the value of, from imperfect data.


Make a prediction about; tell in advance;
Call the outcome of an election


To judge and form an opinion of the value of, from imperfect data, - either the extrinsic (money), or intrinsic (moral), value; to fix the worth of roughly or in a general way; as, to estimate the value of goods or land; to estimate the worth or talents of a person.
It is by the weight of silver, and not the name of the piece, that men estimate commodities and exchange them.
It is always very difficult to estimate the age in which you are living.


Indicate by signs;
These signs bode bad news


To from an opinion of, as to amount,, number, etc., from imperfect data, comparison, or experience; to make an estimate of; to calculate roughly; to rate; as, to estimate the cost of a trip, the number of feet in a piece of land.


A valuing or rating by the mind, without actually measuring, weighing, or the like; rough or approximate calculation; as, an estimate of the cost of a building, or of the quantity of water in a pond.
Weigh success in a moral balance, and our whole estimate is changed.
No; dear as freedom is, and in my heart'sJust estimation prized above all price.


An approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth;
An estimate of what it would cost
A rough idea how long it would take


A judgment of the qualities of something or somebody;
Many factors are involved in any estimate of human life
In my estimation the boy is innocent


A document appraising the value of something (as for insurance or taxation)


A statement indicating the likely cost of some job;
He got an estimate from the car repair shop


The respect with which a person is held;
They had a high estimation of his ability


Judge tentatively or form an estimate of (quantities or time);
I estimate this chicken to weigh three pounds


Judge to be probable


Does a Predict involve certainty?

No, predictions are based on evidence but aren't guaranteed.

Can an Estimate be a noun?

Yes, e.g., "The contractor gave an estimate."

Is an Estimate always accurate?

No, it's an approximation and may vary from actual outcomes.

Do Estimate and Predict mean the same thing?

No, "Estimate" focuses on approximations, while "Predict" forecasts future events.

Is an Estimate always about numbers?

Often, but not always. It can also be a general assessment.

Is Predict used in the field of science?

Yes, scientists often predict outcomes based on research.

Which word suggests more precision, Estimate or Predict?

"Predict" often suggests a more specific forecast, while "Estimate" is about approximation.

Does an Estimate need evidence?

It's based on available information, but isn't as evidence-centric as a prediction.

Can you Predict the weather?

Yes, meteorologists predict weather patterns based on data.

Is it possible to Predict stock market trends?

Yes, but such predictions aren't foolproof and have risks.

How is Estimate used in construction?

Contractors provide an estimate of costs and time for projects.

In what scenarios is Estimate commonly used?

In calculating costs, timeframes, or determining quantities.

Can one always trust an Estimate?

Estimates are helpful, but one should consider margins of error.

How do businesses use Estimates?

They estimate costs, profits, sales, and more to plan strategically.

Can a Prediction be based on intuition?

It can, but predictions based on evidence or data are more reliable.

What's the value of an expert Estimate?

It provides informed approximations based on expertise in a field.

Is there a tool to Predict the weather?

Yes, various meteorological tools help in weather prediction.

How do machines Predict outcomes?

Through algorithms and machine learning, analyzing patterns in data.

Does history help in making Predictions?

Yes, past events can sometimes indicate future trends.

Is Predict more future-oriented than Estimate?

Generally, yes. Predictions specifically focus on forecasting future events.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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