A heuristic or heuristic technique (/hjʊəˈrɪstɪk/; Ancient Greek: εὑρίσκω, heurískō, 'I find, discover'), is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, or rational, but is nevertheless sufficient for reaching an immediate, short-term goal or approximation. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision.[1][2]

Examples that employ heuristics include using trial and error, a rule of thumb or an educated guess.