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plus or minus

1. Indicating a margin above and below a certain level. The margin of error is plus or minus three points, so we're still comfortably ahead of the national average. As the report is outside of the plus or minus 2 percent tolerance threshold, the bank has decided not to go through with the deal.
2. Approximately; roughly. There were maybe 20 people there, plus or minus. You'll need plus or minus 200 feet of cable if you want to reach the other side of the house.
3. With or without. Used especially in reference to medical treatments. Our current go-to treatment is a full course of chemotherapy, plus or minus an antiemetic depending on patient tolerance.
See also: minus, plus


Used to introduce a certain amount of time left before something starts or some event takes place. Traditionally used in the countdowns to space launches. OK everyone, T-minus 30 minutes! I repeat, our show starts in 30 minutes! A: "Attention, attention. Evacuate immediately. T-minute two hours before the reactor reaches critical mass." B: "Oh my god, we've all got to get out of here!"
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


more or less; roughly. South African
1992 Weekend Post He expected ‘plus-minus’ 1000 files would eventually be forwarded for ‘possible prosecution’.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

plus or ˈminus

used when the number mentioned may actually be more or less by a particular amount: The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.
See also: minus, plus
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Three girls - Faunzia Ali, Tanzila Yakub and Khulud Nurani - managed to get A- (minus) and they all want to pursue medicine.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in India was a bitter minus 50 degree Celsius in the small town of Dras in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir in 1911.
The coldest spot in the UK early yesterday was Tulloch Bridge in the Highlands, where the thermometer could only creep up to minus 10.2C (13F).
The index, reflecting economic expectations for the eurozone, declined by 1.2 points to minus 2.6 points in the month of November.
A balance of minus 10% of firms saw a fall in the volume of business having expected an increase in this quarter (plus 12%).
The result, however, represented a slower pace of decline, compared with the slide from plus 6.6 to minus 2.5 in the October-December quarter.
The consumer confidence barometer shows a boost in consumer sentiment about the state of the economy over the next 12 months, rising from minus 33 in January to minus 29 this month.
While Gulmarg, famous as a skiing resort, recorded a low of minus 15.2 deg C, Kokernag resort in south Kashmir recorded minus 13.0 deg C followed by Pahalgam at minus 12.2 deg C.
"Overnight on Thursday temperatures drop below freezing to minus 4C in the Middlesbrough area and remaining below freezing on Friday and Saturday.
in November, down from minus 16.1 in October and well below the long-run
The temperature was minus 29 degrees Celsius in Agri, minus 21 in Ardahan, 17 in Kars, minus 14 in Erzincan and minus 9 degrees in Igdir, officials reported.
The exceptions were business owners policy, general liability and umbrella excess (minus 6 percent); workers' compensation at minus 7 percent; and fiduciary at minus 3 percent.
The resulting adverse balance of minus 44 per cent stands against minus 42 and minus 43 per cent in recent months, but represents a sharp drop from minus 16 per cent before the Lehman Brothers debacle in September.
He said: "We are forecast as low as minus nine, but minus five to minus seven seems to be the general consensus.
A three semester, within instructor, interrupted time series analysis of grading practices was conducted in order to observe the effects of the implementation of a plus minus grading system.