Meaning of NEAR in English


/ nɪə(r); NAmE nɪr/ adjective , adverb , preposition , verb

■ adjective ( near·er , near·est )

HELP NOTE : In senses 1 to 4 near and nearer do not usually go before a noun; nearest can go either before or after a noun.


a short distance away

SYN close :

His house is very near.

Where's the nearest bank?

➡ note at next


a short time away in the future :

The conflict is unlikely to be resolved in the near future (= very soon) .


coming next after sb/sth :

She has a 12-point lead over her nearest rival.


(usually nearest ) similar; most similar :

He was the nearest thing to (= the person most like) a father she had ever had.

—see also o.n.o.


[ only before noun ] (no comparative or superlative) close to being sb/sth :

The election proved to be a near disaster for the party.

a near impossibility


near relative / relation used to describe a close family connection :

Only the nearest relatives were present at the funeral.

►  near·ness noun [ U ]:

the nearness of death


- your nearest and dearest

- a near thing

- to the nearest ...

■ adverb ( near·er , near·est )


at a short distance away :

A bomb exploded somewhere near.

She took a step nearer.

Visitors came from near and far .


a short time away in the future :

The exams are drawing near .


(especially in compounds) almost :

a near-perfect performance

I'm as near certain as can be.


- as near as

- as near as damn it / dammit

- near enough

- not anywhere near / nowhere near

- so near and yet so far

—more at pretty adverb

■ preposition (also near to , near·er (to) , near·est (to) )

HELP NOTE : Near to is not usually used before the name of a place, person, festival, etc.


at a short distance away from sb/sth :

Do you live near here?

Go and sit nearer (to) the fire.

➡ note at next


a short period of time from sth :

My birthday is very near Christmas.

I'll think about it nearer (to) the time (= when it is just going to happen) .


used before a number to mean 'approximately', 'just below or above' :

Share prices are near their record high of last year.

Profits fell from $11 million to nearer $8 million.


similar to sb/sth in quality, size, etc. :

Nobody else comes near her in intellect.

He's nearer 70 than 60.

This colour is nearest (to) the original.


~ (doing) sth close to a particular state :

a state near (to) death

She was near to tears (= almost crying) .

We came near to being killed.


see hand noun , heart , mark noun

■ verb

(rather formal ) to come close to sth in time or space

SYN approach :

[ vn ]

The project is nearing completion .

She was nearing the end of her life.

We neared the top of the hill.

[ v ]

As Christmas neared, the children became more and more excited.



near / close

The adjectives near and close are often the same in meaning, but in some phrases only one of them may be used:

the near future

a near neighbour

a near miss

a close contest

a close encounter

a close call

. Close is more often used to describe a relationship between people:

a close friend

close family

close links

. You do not usually use near in this way.



Middle English : from Old Norse nær nearer, comparative of ná , corresponding to Old English nēah nigh .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.