American English

Definition of near adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (nearer, nearest)
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  1. 1In 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 synonym close1 His house is very near. Where's the nearest bank? Which Word?next / nearest (The)next means “after this/that one” in time or in a series of events, places, or people:When is your next appointment? Take a left at the next traffic light. Who’s next?(The)nearest means “closest” in space:Where’s the nearest grocery store? Notice the difference between the prepositions nearest to and next to:Janet’s sitting nearest to the window (= of all the people in the room). Sarah’s sitting next to the window (= right beside it).
  2. 2a short time away in the future The conflict is unlikely to be resolved in the near future (= very soon).
  3. 3coming next after someone or something She has a 12-point lead over her nearest rival.
  4. 4nearest similar; most similar He was the nearest thing to (= the person most like) a father she had ever had.
  5. 5[only before noun] (no comparative or superlative) close to being someone or something The election proved to be a near disaster for the party. a near impossibility
  6. 6near relative/relation used to describe a close family connection Only the nearest relatives were present at the funeral.
    noun [uncountable] the nearness of death
  8. Which Word?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 neighbor 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.
    your nearest and dearest (informal)
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    your close family and friends
    a near thing
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    a situation in which you are successful, but which could also have ended badly Phew! That was a near thing! It could have been a disaster. We won in the end, but it was a near thing.
    to the nearest…
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    followed by a number when counting or measuring approximately We calculated the cost to the nearest 50 dollars.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: near