lossy

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(adj.) Describes encoding or compression methods that do not preserve all the original data in a file, making that data impossible to recover later. Lossy compression can greatly reduce the quantity of data required to define an object by discarding redundant and unnecessary information in images and data files while maintaining the basic content. Data lost in the quantization of high-frequency components of an image is virtually imperceptible to the human eye, however, so the discarded data may be relatively insignificant. Discrete cosine transform is a type of lossy compression. Compare lossless compression.