near at hand,
    1. in the immediate vicinity: There is a shopping area near at hand.
    2. in the near future; soon: The departure is near at hand.

Origin of near

before 900; Middle English nere, Old English nēar, comparative of nēah nigh
Related formsnear·ness, nouno·ver·near, adjective, adverbo·ver·near·ness, noun

Synonyms for near

11. imminent, impending, approaching. 17. tight, miserly.

Antonyms for near

1, 2, 8–11, 18. far. 17. generous. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nearer

Contemporary Examples of nearer

Historical Examples of nearer

  • A bell had been tinkling nearer and nearer on the road ahead.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I'm nearer sunstroke myself than he is—not a wink of sleep for two nights now.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Still there were other and nearer roads to the point I aimed at.

  • In the nearer ranks we may discern the variety of ingredients that compose the mass.

    Biographical Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • We prove that we are nearer the truth by our greater command of the Father's resources.

British Dictionary definitions for nearer



at or to a place or time not far away from; close to


at or to a place or time not far away; close by
near to not far from; near
short for nearly I was damn near killed


at or in a place not far away
(postpositive) not far away in time; imminentdeparture time was near
(prenominal) only just successful or only just failinga near escape
(postpositive) informal miserly, mean
(prenominal) closely connected or intimatea near relation


to come or draw close (to)


Also called: nearside
  1. the left side of a horse, team of animals, vehicle, etc
  2. (as modifier)the near foreleg
Derived Formsnearness, noun

Word Origin for near

Old English nēar (adv), comparative of nēah close, nigh; related to Old Frisian niār, Old Norse nǣr, Old High German nāhōr
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 nearer



Old English near "closer, nearer," comparative of neah, neh"nigh." Influenced by Old Norse naer "near," it came to be used as a positive form mid-13c., and new comparative nearer developed 1500s (see nigh). As an adjective from c.1300. Originally an adverb but now supplanted in most such senses by nearly; it has in turn supplanted correct nigh as an adjective. Related: Nearness. In near and dear (1620s) it refers to nearness of kinship. Near East first attested 1891, in Kipling. Near beer "low-alcoholic brew" is from 1908.



"to draw near," 1510s, from near (adv.). Related: Neared; nearing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with nearer


In addition to the idioms beginning with near

  • near at hand
  • near miss
  • near thing
  • near to one's heart

also see:

  • far and near
  • in the near future
  • not anything like (anywhere near)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.