from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb To, at, or within a short distance or interval in space or time.
  • adverb Just about; almost; nearly.
  • adverb With or in a close relationship.
  • adjective Close in time, space, position, or degree.
  • adjective Closely related by kinship or association; intimate: synonym: close.
  • adjective Nearly occurring but not actually happening.
  • adjective Just barely avoided.
  • adjective Closely corresponding to or resembling an original.
  • adjective Closely resembling the genuine article.
  • adjective Closer of two or more.
  • adjective Being on the left side of an animal or vehicle.
  • adjective Being the animal or vehicle on the left.
  • adjective Short and direct.
  • adjective Archaic Stingy; parsimonious.
  • preposition Close to.
  • intransitive verb To come close or closer to.
  • intransitive verb To draw near or nearer; approach.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Nigher; more nigh; closer: comparative of nigh.
  • Hence, without comparative force, and with a new comparative nearer, superlative nearest
  • Nigh; close; at, to, or toward a point which is adjacent or not far off: with such verbs as be, come, go, draw, move.
  • Nigh, in a figurative sense.
  • Nautical, close to the wind: opposed to off.
  • Closely; intimately.
  • Almost; nearly.
  • Into close straits; into a critical position.
  • Nigh; close to; close by; at no great distance from.
  • Nigh or close to, in a figurative sense.
  • noun See neer.
  • Being nigh in place; being close by; not distant; adjacent; contiguous.
  • Closely allied by blood; closely akin.
  • Intimate; united in close ties of affection or confidence; familiar: as, a near friend.
  • Affecting one's interest or feelings; touching; coming home to one.
  • Close; not deviating from an original or model; observant of the style or manner of the thing copied; literal: as, a near translation.
  • So as barely to escape injury, danger, or exposure; close; narrow.
  • In riding or driving, on the left: opposed to off; as, the near side; the near fore leg.
  • Short; serving to bring the object close.
  • Economical; closely calculating; also, close; parsimonious.
  • Empty.
  • Synonyms Contiguous, proximate, neighboring, imminent, impending, approaching. Nearest, Next are sometimes synonymous words: as, nearest or next of kin; but specially the first denotes the closest relative proximity, while the second denotes the proximate place in order. Compare the nearest house with the next house.
  • A contracted form of neither.
  • To come near or nearer; stand near; approach: as, the ship neared the land.
  • To come nearer; approach.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • preposition Adjacent to; close by; not far from; nigh. See the Note under near, a.
  • adjective Not far distant in time, place, or degree; not remote; close at hand; adjacent; neighboring; nigh.
  • adjective Closely connected or related.
  • adjective Close to one's interests, affection, etc.; touching, or affecting intimately; intimate; dear.
  • adjective Close to anything followed or imitated; not free, loose, or rambling.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ner, from Old English nēar, from comparative of nēah, close, near.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English nere, ner, from Old English nēar ("nearer", comparative of nēah, "nigh"), influenced by Old Norse nǣr ("near"), both originating from Proto-Germanic *nēhwizô (“nearer”), comparative of the adverb *nēhw (“near”), and from Proto-Indo-European *meg'hr- . Cognate with Old Frisian niār ("nearer"), Old High German nāhōr ("nearer").


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  • Turkey-Buzzard Tom Bonney -- immediately claimed sanctuary in the jail, on the grounds that they had been near to -- get that; I think that indicates the line they're going to take at the trial -- _near_ to a political assassination.

    Lone Star Planet H. Beam Piper 1934

  • An 'one chair I did see to: right in the bay, near Jennie, I set 'Leven -- I guess with just a kind of a blind feelin' that I wanted to get her _near_.

    Friendship Village Zona Gale 1906

  • The world in which people were near -- _near_ -- to one another and loved each other, the world Donal had always belonged to even when he was a little boy, she now knew and lived in.

    Robin Frances Hodgson Burnett 1886

  • _How should all the apparatus of heaven and earth_, _from the farthest firmament to the tender bosom of the mother who nourished us_, _make poetry for a mind that has no movements of awe and tenderness_, _no sense of fellowship which thrills from the near to the distant, and back again from the distant to the near_?

    Uppingham by the Sea a Narrative of the Year at Borth John Huntley Skrine 1885

  • Historical Show-man, with such new gifts and arts; a true Magician, who had in his closet a mirror which possessed the property of revealing, not the past nor the present only, but the future, 'with a near aim,' an aim so _near_ that it might well seem 'magical'; and that a cloud was flaming in it, even then, 'which drizzled blood upon the Capitol.'

    The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded Delia Bacon 1835

  • But he learned them soon; for Solomon immediately dropped down from the big willow and alighted on the bank near Mr. Frog — altogether _too near_ him, in fact, for the tailor’s comfort.

    The Tale of Solomon Owl Arthur Scott Bailey 1913

  • In the rear stands a mash-tub with a sheepskin stretched over it for a drum, and near it is the drummer-boy, a child of six; a bugle, a cornet and a bassoon are laid in a corner, and two or three boys stand near_.) _Sergeant George_.

    Laura Secord, the heroine of 1812. A Drama. and Other Poems. Sarah Anne Curzon 1865

  • "Ah! Were you, then, near that brave corps!" exclaimed the other, with something like honest, natural feeling, for the first time exhibited in his voice and meaning; "I honour men who were only _spectators_ of so much courage, especially if they took a tolerably _near_ view of it.

    Satanstoe James Fenimore Cooper 1820

  • Now put a penny somewhere on the label near the center. Top Stories 2011

  • Grady asked for the same 10-year-sentence Payne had just given Oncale, but the judge imposed a term near the middle of the federal guideline range. Chronicle 2011


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  • "'I am not of a spendthrift nature, Mrs. Cranston, being wholly New England on my father's side and almost wholly Scottish on my mother's. In fact, I am what New Englanders call "near." Schoolboys say "chinchy."'

    Mrs. Cranston laughed. 'In Rhode Island we often say "close." I am not ashamed to say that I am fairly "close" in my dealings.'"

    --Theophilus North by Thornton Wilder

    September 5, 2010