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almost

[awl-mohst, awl-mohst]
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adverb
  1. very nearly; all but: almost every house; almost the entire symphony; to pay almost nothing for a car; almost twice as many books.
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Origin of almost

before 1000; Middle English; Old English (e)al māst, variant of æl mǣst nearly
Can be confusedalmost most (see usage note at most)

Synonym study

Almost, most, nearly, well-nigh all mean within a small degree of or short space of. Almost implies very little short of: almost exhausted; almost home. Most is colloquial for almost. Nearly implies a slightly greater distance or degree than almost : nearly well; nearly to the city. Well-nigh, a more literary word, implies a barely appreciable distance or extent: well-nigh forgotten; well-nigh home.

Usage note

See most.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for almost

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The request, thus aided by flattery, was almost unanimously granted.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Almost every Barbarian at the table had made his own fortune.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • They're really one and a half sizes too small, and almost kill me.

  • It was almost impossible to win their confidence, or to get information from them.

  • She was almost in; it was only a slight dizziness, yet she could not see the light-house.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson


British Dictionary definitions for almost

almost

adverb
  1. little short of being; very nearly
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for almost

adv.

Old English eallmæst "nearly all, for the most part," literally "mostly all;" see all + most. Modern form from 15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper