close ranks, to unite forces, especially by overlooking petty differences, in order to deal with an adverse or challenging situation; to join together in a show of unity, especially to the public: When the newspaper story broke suggesting possible corruption in the government, the politicians all closed ranks.
    close to the wind, Nautical. in a direction nearly opposite to that from which the wind is coming: to sail close to the wind.
    close up,
    1. from close range; in a detailed manner; intimately.
    2. Nautical.fully raised; at the top of the halyard: an answering pennant flown close up.Compare dip1(def 37).

Origin of close

before 1050; (noun, adj.) Middle English clos < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin clausus, past participle of claudere to close (cf. clause); (v.) Middle English closen, verbal derivative of the adj. (compare Old English clȳsan, beclȳsan to shut in, enclose, verbal derivative of clūse bar, enclosure < Medieval Latin clūsa, for Latin clausa, feminine of clausus); noun and adj. senses with voiced pronunciation of s are presumably modern deverbal derivatives
Related formsclos·a·ble, close·a·ble [kloh-zuh-buhl] /ˈkloʊ zə bəl/, adjectiveclose·ly [klohs-lee] /ˈkloʊs li/, adverbclose·ness [klohs-nis] /ˈkloʊs nɪs/, nounnon·close, adjectivenon·close·ly, adverbo·ver·close, adjectiveo·ver·close·ly, adverbo·ver·close·ness, nounpre·close, verb (used with object), pre·closed, pre·clos·ing.un·clos·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedclose clothes cloze

Synonyms for close

Synonym study

2. Close, shut mean to cause something not to be open. Close suggests blocking an opening or vacant place: to close a breach in a wall. The word shut refers especially to blocking or barring openings intended for entering and leaving: to shut a door, gate, etc., and close can be used in this sense, too: to close a door, gate, etc. 48. See stingy1. 59. See end1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for close

Contemporary Examples of close

Historical Examples of close

  • They know I'm close to Bobby and they'd like to have him on their side, for all their avowed independence.

  • Afar, is the reign of philosophy; close up is the chaos of the Carlovingian era.

  • After a light dinner I lay down on my bed, but it was too close and hot to sleep.

  • Pass under the chain-gate, turn sharply to the left under another archway, and the Close is before you.


    G.W. Wade and J.H. Wade

  • His intimate friend, who came with him, had the good fortune to be close to Bertha, and had witnessed all that had occurred.

    Materialized Apparitions

    Edward Augustus Brackett

British Dictionary definitions for close




near in space or time; in proximity
having the parts near together; densea close formation
down or near to the surface; shorta close haircut
near in relationshipa close relative
intimate or confidentiala close friend
almost equal or evena close contest
not deviating or varying greatly from a model or standarda close resemblance; a close translation
careful, strict, or searchinga close study
(of a style of play in football, hockey, etc) characterized by short passes
confined or enclosed
shut or shut tight
oppressive, heavy, or airlessa close atmosphere
strictly guardeda close prisoner
neat or tight in fita close cap
secretive or reticent
miserly; not generous, esp with money
(of money or credit) hard to obtain; scarce
restricted as to public admission or membership
hidden or secluded
Also: closed restricted or prohibited as to the type of game or fish able to be taken
Also: closed, narrow phonetics denoting a vowel pronounced with the lips relatively close together


closely; tightly
near or in proximity
close to the wind nautical sailing as nearly as possible towards the direction from which the wind is blowingSee also wind 1 (def. 26)
Derived Formsclosely, adverbcloseness, noun

Word Origin for close

C13: from Old French clos close, enclosed, from Latin clausus shut up, from claudere to close




to put or be put in such a position as to cover an opening; shutthe door closed behind him
(tr) to bar, obstruct, or fill up (an entrance, a hole, etc)to close a road
to bring the parts or edges of (a wound, etc) together or (of a wound, etc) to be brought together
(intr; foll by on, over, etc) to take holdhis hand closed over the money
to bring or be brought to an end; terminate
to complete (an agreement, a deal, etc) successfully or (of an agreement, deal, etc) to be completed successfully
to cease or cause to cease to render servicethe shop closed at six
(intr) stock exchange to have a value at the end of a day's trading, as specifiedsteels closed two points down
to complete an electrical circuit
(tr) nautical to pass near
(tr) archaic to enclose or shut in
close one's eyes
  1. euphemisticto die
  2. (often foll by to)to ignore


the act of closing
the end or conclusionthe close of the day
a place of joining or meeting
(kləʊs) law private property, usually enclosed by a fence, hedge, or wall
(kləʊs) British a courtyard or quadrangle enclosed by buildings or an entry leading to such a courtyard
(kləʊs) British (capital when part of a street name) a small quiet residential roadHillside Close
British a field
(kləʊs) the precincts of a cathedral or similar building
(kləʊs) Scot the entry from the street to a tenement building
music another word for cadence
archaic, or rare an encounter in battle; grapple
Derived Formscloser, noun
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 close

c.1200, "to shut, cover in," from Old French clos- (past participle stem of clore "to shut, to cut off from"), 12c., from Latin clausus, past participle of claudere "to shut, close; to block up, make inaccessible; put an end to; shut in, enclose, confine" (always -clusus, -cludere in compounds).

The Latin word might be from the possible PIE root *klau- "hook, peg, crooked or forked branch" (used as a bar or bolt in primitive structures); cf. Latin clavis "key," clavus "nail," claustrum "bar, bolt, barrier," claustra "dam, wall, barricade, stronghold;" Greek kleidos (genitive) "bar, bolt, key," klobos "cage;" Old Irish clo "nail," Middle Irish clithar "hedge, fence;" Old Church Slavonic ključi "hook, key," ključiti "shut;" Lithuanian kliuti "to catch, be caught on," kliaudziu "check, hinder," kliuvu "clasp, hang;" Old High German sliozan "shut," German schließen "to shut," Schlüssel "key."

Also partly from Old English beclysan "close in, shut up." Intransitive sense "become shut" is from late 14c. Meaning "draw near to" is from 1520s. Intransitive meaning "draw together, come together" is from 1550s, hence the idea in military verbal phrase close ranks (mid-17c.), later with figurative extensions. Meaning "bring to an end, finish" is from c.1400; intransitive sense "come to an end" is from 1826. Of stock prices, from 1860. Meaning "bring together the parts of" (a book, etc.) is from 1560s. Related: Closed; closing.


late 14c., "strictly confined," also "secret," from Old French clos "confined; concealed, secret; taciturn" (12c.), from Latin clausus "close, reserved," past participle adjective from claudere "stop up, fasten, shut" (see close (v.)); main sense shifting to "near" (late 15c.) by way of "closing the gap between two things." Related: Closely.

Meaning "narrowly confined, pent up" is late 14c. Meaning "near" in a figurative sense, of persons, from 1560s. Meaning "full of attention to detail" is from 1660s. Of contests, from 1855. Close call is from 1866, in a quotation in an anecdote from 1863, possibly a term from the American Civil War; close shave in the figurative sense is 1820, American English. Close range is from 1814. Close-minded is attested from 1818. Close-fisted "penurious, miserly" is from c.1600.


late 14c., "act of closing, conclusion, termination," from close (v.). Also in early use "enclosure, enclosed space" (late 13c.), from Old French clos, noun use of past participle.


"tightly, with no opening or space between," from close (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with close


In addition to the idioms beginning with close

  • close at hand
  • close but no cigar
  • close call
  • closed book, a
  • closed door
  • close down
  • close in
  • close one's eyes to
  • close out
  • close ranks
  • close shave
  • close the books
  • close the door on
  • close the sale
  • close to home
  • close up

also see:

  • at close quarters
  • at close range
  • behind closed doors
  • keep (a close) watch
  • near (close) to one's heart
  • play one's cards close to one's chest
  • sail close to the wind
  • too close for comfort
  • too close to call
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.