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.

  • To come near or nearer; stand near; approach: as, the ship neared the land.
  • To come nearer; approach.
  • A contracted form of neither.
  • noun See neer.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • adverb At a little distance, in place, time, manner, or degree; not remote; nigh.
  • adverb Nearly; almost; well-nigh.
  • adverb Closely; intimately.
  • adverb at a distance and close by; throughout a whole region.
  • adverb to want but little of; to approximate to.


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