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close quarters

[klohs] /kloʊs/
a small, cramped place or position.
direct and close contact in a fight:
They met at close quarters, exchanging many quick jabs.
Origin of close quarters
First recorded in 1745-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for close quarters
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The dislike of the wolf for close quarters was his to an unusual degree.

    White Fang Jack London
  • Before there was time for another shot they were at close quarters.

    The End of Time Wallace West
  • At last he was going to see Caleb Barter again at close quarters.

    The Mind Master Arthur J. Burks
  • It will, nevertheless, interest me to see him at close quarters.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • It had been fired at random, altogether, more like a signal for coming to close quarters.

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for close quarters

close quarters

plural noun
a narrow cramped space or position
at close quarters
  1. engaged in hand-to-hand combat
  2. in close proximity; very near together
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
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Word Origin and History for close quarters

1753, originally nautical, also close-fights, "bulkheads fore and aft for men to stand behind in close engagements to fire on the enemy," it reflects the confusion of close (v.) and close (adj.); "now understood of proximity, but orig. 'closed' space on ship-board where last stand could be made against boarders" [Weekley]. Cf. also closed-minded, a variant of close-minded attested from 1880s, with a sense of "shut" rather than "tight."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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