back-of-the-envelope

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From the idea that the calculation or reasoning would be jotted down on any available scrap of paper such as the actual back of an envelope.

Adjective[edit]

back-of-the-envelope

  1. (idiomatic) Approximate, rough, simplified, especially of a calculation, estimation or other reasoning.
    Do some back-of-the-envelope calculations before all the facts come in.