American English

Definition of nearly adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  •  almost; not quite; not completely The bottle's nearly empty. I've worked here for nearly two years. It's nearly time to leave. The audience was nearly all men. He's nearly as tall as you are. They're nearly always late. Which Word?almost / nearly / practicallyThese three words have similar meanings and are used frequently with the following words:
    almost ~nearly ~practically ~
    They are used in positive sentences:She almost/nearly/practically missed her train.They can be used before words like all, every, and everybody:Nearly all the students have bikes. I’ve got practically every CD they’ve made.Practically is used more in spoken than in written English. Nearly is the most common with numbers:There were nearly 200 people at the meeting.They can also be used in negative sentences but it is more common to make a positive sentence with barely:We barely made it in time.(or:We almost/nearly didn’t make it in time.) Almost and practically can be used before words like any, anybody, anything, etc.:I’ll eat almost anything.You can also use them before no, nobody, never, etc. but it is much more common to use hardly with any, anybody, ever, etc.:She’s hardly ever in.(or:She’s almost never in.) Almost can be used when you are saying that one thing is similar to another:The boat looked almost like a toy.
  • Idioms much less than; not at all It's not nearly as hot as last year. There isn't nearly enough time to get there now.
    See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: nearly