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The word classical has several meanings:

  • In parallel to the preceding meaning, we can speak of (say) Classical Chinese or Classical Indian culture or aspects of culture when referring to a perceived apex in the development of a society or of its arts. See for example Indian classical music.
  • Any mode of scientific thought prevalent at the time of some radical new innovation.
Often, one has problems, that in principle require use of full quantum mechnical formalisms, but cannot be attacked this way due to the greater difficulty of the mathematics involved in quantum mechnics. Then one tries to get an approximate solution by assuming that for parts of the system, the results of classical physics does not differ to much from that of the quantum mechnics treatment. This is called a semiclassical approach.
Note: The theory of relativity is usually considered as a classical theory (which is one of the main open questions of contemporary physics: How to reconcile general relativity (the last word in classical physics) with quantum mechancs? -- See quantum gravity for a discussion.
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