Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

near - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

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.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective, adverb, preposition     near pronunciation in British English
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Near can be used in the following ways:
as a preposition: I lived near the school.I’ll write and let you know nearer the time.
as an adverb: Come nearer, and I’ll tell you the whole story.
as an adjective: I went into the nearest room.A climb in the mountains led to near disaster.
in the preposition phrase near to: Pull your chair nearer to the table.
  1. 1
    close to someone or something

    A group of students were standing near the entrance.

    The tornado destroyed two houses near Tulsa.

    The shops are quite near.

    I slept in the bed nearest the door.

    They live in a small cottage 15 miles from the nearest village.

    near to:

    Rosa moved a little nearer to the fire.

    1. a.
      used for referring to the side of something that is the closest to where you are

      I got into the near side of the bed.

    See also nearside
  2. 2
    getting close to a particular state or situation
    near to:

    Julian was near to panic as he suddenly realized that he was trapped.

    near to doing something:

    They are near to solving the puzzle.

    There were rumours that the 66-year-old leader was near death.

  3. 3
    not long before a particular time or event

    It was nearer three than two o’clock when he finally arrived.

    I had no intention of making any decision until much nearer the time.

    The incident occurred near the end of the war.

    draw near:

    The date of the election was drawing near.

  4. 4
    very similar to something

    What he’s saying now is near the truth, but it’s still not accurate.

    near to:

    My feelings were nearer to despair than disappointment.

  5. 5
    only a little less than a particular amount or number

    The temperature that day was near 30 degrees.

    The loss was near 15 per cent for the year.

derived word


noun [uncountable]

There was a lot of mist around because of the garden’s nearness to the river.



the situation of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a rise in the level of a stream or river

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play