verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to come nearer; draw near: A storm is approaching.
to come near in character, time, amount, etc.; approximate.


Origin of approach

1275–1325; (v.) Middle English a(p)prochen < Anglo-French, Old French a(p)rocher < Late Latin adpropiāre, verbal derivative, with ad- ad-, of Latin propius nearer (comparative of prope near), replacing Latin appropinquāre; (noun) late Middle English approche, derivative of the v.
Related formsap·proach·er, nounap·proach·less, adjectivere·ap·proach, verbun·ap·proached, adjectiveun·ap·proach·ing, adjectivewell-ap·proached, adjective

Synonyms for approach

1. near, close with. 3. sound out.

Antonyms for approach Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for approach

Contemporary Examples of approach

Historical Examples of approach

  • There was no danger of discovery on his approach, for it was a wild night of wind and rain.

  • They are "safe, because they are too filthy to handle, and too noisome even to approach."

  • But she could not help smiling, so evident was it that he simply wished to approach her.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • He was prevented from replying by the approach of Simba at the head of eight of the askaris.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • For days and days they flanked the safari before venturing to approach.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for approach



to come nearer in position, time, quality, character, etc, to (someone or something)
(tr) to make advances to, as with a proposal, suggestion, etc
(tr) to begin to deal withto approach a problem
(tr) rare to cause to come near


the act of coming towards or drawing close or closer
a close approximation
the way or means of entering or leaving; access
(often plural) an advance or overture to a person
a means adopted in tackling a problem, job of work, etc
Also called: approach path the course followed by an aircraft preparing for landing

Word Origin for approach

C14: from Old French aprochier, from Late Latin appropiāre to draw near, from Latin prope near
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 approach

c.1300, from Anglo-French approcher, Old French aprochier "approach, come closer" (12c., Modern French approcher), from Late Latin appropiare "go nearer to," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + Late Latin propiare "come nearer," comparative of Latin prope "near" (see propinquity). Replaced Old English neahlæcan.


mid-15c., from approach (v.). Figurative sense of "means of handling a problem, etc." is first attested 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper