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close - definition and synonyms

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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

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adjective     close pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    only a short distance away, or separated by only a short distance

    We can walk to the swimming pool – it’s quite close.

    close to:

    The hotel is close to the centre of town.

    close together:

    He had a cruel face with eyes that were too close together.

    close proximity:

    The area is in close proximity to a huge shopping centre.

    at close quarters/range:

    He had observed President Roosevelt at close quarters and absorbed many of his techniques.

    close work (=done only a short distance from your eyes):

    I only need my glasses for close work such as sewing.

  2. 2
    only a short time away, or separated by only a short time
    close to:

    You can’t go to the party; it’s too close to your exams.

    close together:

    The two bank holidays are quite close together in May.

  3. 3
    likely to happen soon or to do something soon

    Everyone believes that a peace deal is close.

    close to tears/collapse/death:

    By the end of the race he was close to collapse.

    close to doing something:

    We’re closer to signing a contract after today’s meeting.

  4. 4
    careful and involving attention to every detail

    I’ll take a closer look at your homework tomorrow.

    close scrutiny/examination/inspection:

    Fowler’s research has come under close scrutiny.

    keep a close eye/watch on:

    The local police kept a close eye on his activities.

  5. 5
    similar to someone or something else but not exactly the same

    That’s not exactly the colour I want, but it’s close.

    close to:

    The sensation is close to the feeling of floating.

    bear a close resemblance to someone/something:

    She bears a close resemblance to her mother.

    the closest (thing) to something:

    That’s the closest thing to an apology you’re going to get from Drew.

  6. 6
    connected by shared interests and shared feelings such as love and respect

    My brother and I are very close.

    Jamal and I have been close friends since we were six.

    close to:

    She’s close to both her parents.

  7. 7
    related to you directly, for example by being your parent, child, brother, or sister

    He has no close relatives.

  8. 8
    directly involved with someone and communicating with them a lot, especially as part of your job
    close to:

    Sources close to the Prime Minister say he is ready to make a deal.

    1. a.
      used about activities or relationships

      We’ve always worked in close cooperation with the local authority.

      in close contact/touch (with someone):

      We don’t share an office any more, but we still keep in close contact.

  9. 9
    spoken nearly correct

    ‘I’d say you were about 35.’ ‘You’re close! I’m 37.’

  10. 10
    if something is close to a particular amount, number, level etc, it is almost that amount, number, level etc
    close to:

    Unemployment on the island is close to 12 per cent.

  11. 11
    won or settled by only a few points, votes etc

    The game was close, but Real Madrid eventually won.

    The next election will be a close contest.

    a close second/third/fourth etc:

    Irvine won the race, with Schumacher a close second.

  12. 12
    spoken used for saying that you have just succeeded in avoiding a dangerous or unpleasant situation

    That was close! We would’ve been in trouble if you hadn’t swerved.

  13. 13
    warm and uncomfortable because there does not seem to be enough fresh air
  14. 14
    a close haircut or shave is very short and almost to the level of the skin
  15. 15
    [only before noun] protected, watched, or guarded in a very careful and strict way

    a close secret

    The boys are being kept under close supervision for the rest of the term.

  16. 16
    not willing to spend your money or give any to anyone

derived word


noun [uncountable]

Given the closeness of the school, you should be able to walk there.

Joe was jealous of the closeness between his mother and his younger brother.

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a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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