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 narrowness

Contemporary Examples of narrowness

Historical Examples of narrowness

  • Kate's nature was limited; part of her graceful equipoise was narrowness.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • To this narrowness Burns, with all his faults of style, was a stranger.

  • It is here that the narrowness of the mind of woman is revealed in all its meanness.

  • The narrowness serves to concentrate the strength and accelerate the work.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • More than two could not attack him at once by virtue of the narrowness of the passage.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for narrowness

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 narrowness

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 narrowness

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.