adv. near·er, near·est
1. To, at, or within a short distance or interval in space or time: moved the table nearer to the wall; as graduation draws near.
2. Just about; almost; nearly: was near exhausted from the climb.
3. With or in a close relationship: It turns out we are near related.
adj. nearer, nearest
1. Close in time, space, position, or degree: near neighbors; near equals.
2. Closely related by kinship or association; intimate: a near relative; a near and dear friend. See Synonyms at close.
a. Nearly occurring but not actually happening: a near victory; a near disaster.
b. Just barely avoided: a near hit by the incendiary bomb.
a. Closely corresponding to or resembling an original: a near likeness.
b. Closely resembling the genuine article: a dress of near satin; near silver beads.
a. Closer of two or more: Take the near street and then turn right.
b. Being on the left side of an animal or vehicle.
c. Being the animal or vehicle on the left.
6. Short and direct: the nearest route to town.
7. Archaic Stingy; parsimonious.
Close to: an inn near London.
v. neared, near·ing, nears
To come close or closer to: The plane neared the terminal.
To draw near or nearer; approach: as the holiday nears.
[Middle English ner, from Old English nēar, from comparative of nēah, close, near.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.