Origin of narrow

before 900; Middle English; Old English nearu; cognate with Old Saxon naru narrow, Dutch naar unpleasant; akin to German Narbe scar, literally, narrow mark
Related formsnar·row·ly, adverbnar·row·ness, nouno·ver·nar·row, adjectiveo·ver·nar·row·ly, adverbo·ver·nar·row·ness, nounun·nar·row, adjectiveun·nar·row·ly, adverbun·nar·rowed, adjective

Synonyms for narrow

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for narrowest

Contemporary Examples of narrowest

Historical Examples of narrowest

  • The narrowest and deepest gorge is hundreds of feet deep in the shale.

  • They were as if linked together, parted merely by the narrowest of passages.

  • They were, one and all, from the broadest and best to the narrowest and least frequented, very dark.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • The river, after its attack on the village, was in possession even to the narrowest streets.

    The Flood

    Emile Zola

  • "About twenty miles at the narrowest point, I believe," I said.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for narrowest

narrow

adjective

small in breadth, esp in comparison to length
limited in range or extent
limited in outlook; lacking breadth of vision
limited in means or resources; meagrenarrow resources
barely adequate or successful (esp in the phrase a narrow escape)
painstakingly thorough; minutea narrow scrutiny
finance denoting an assessment of liquidity as including notes and coin in circulation with the public, banks' till money, and banks' balancesnarrow money Compare broad (def. 14)
dialect overcareful with money; parsimonious
phonetics
  1. another word for tense 1 (def. 4)
  2. relating to or denoting a transcription used to represent phonetic rather than phonemic distinctions
  3. another word for close 1 (def. 21)
(of agricultural feeds) especially rich in protein
narrow squeak informal an escape only just managed

verb

to make or become narrow; limit; restrict

noun

a narrow place, esp a pass or strait
See also narrows
Derived Formsnarrowly, adverbnarrowness, noun

Word Origin for narrow

Old English nearu; related to Old Saxon naru
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 narrowest

narrow

adj.

Old English nearu "narrow, constricted, limited; petty; causing difficulty, oppressive; strict, severe," from West Germanic *narwaz "narrowness" (cf. Frisian nar, Old Saxon naru, Middle Dutch nare, Dutch naar); not found in other Germanic languages and of unknown origin. The narrow seas (c.1400) were the waters between Great Britain and the continent and Ireland. Related: Narrowness.

narrow

v.

Old English nearwian "to force in, cramp, confine; become smaller, shrink;" see narrow (adj.). Related: Narrowed; narrowing.

narrow

n.

c.1200, nearewe "narrow part, place, or thing," from narrow (adj.). Old English nearu (n.) meant "danger, distress, difficulty," also "prison, hiding place."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with narrowest

narrow

In addition to the idiom beginning with narrow

  • narrow escape

, see

  • straight and narrow
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.