adjective, nigh·er, nigh·est.
  1. near; approaching: Evening is nigh.
  2. short or direct: to take the nighest route.
  3. (of an animal or vehicle) being on the left side: to be astride the nigh horse.
  4. Archaic. parsimonious; stingy.
  1. near.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. Archaic. to approach.

Origin of nigh

before 900; Middle English nigh(e), neye, Old English nēah, nēh, cognate with Dutch na, German nahe, Old Norse nā-, Gothic nehw, nehwa; cf. near, next
Related formsun·nigh, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nigher

Historical Examples of nigher

  • The nigher we got, the harder he stared; and the man in front was actin' similar in regards to him.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It's nigher fifty years since I used to sell clocks, hereabouts.

  • This is a consolation, dear Clifford, though it brings us no nigher to our wish.


    W. Gilmore Simms

  • "I guess peeanner's nigher right," observed Peleg critically.

  • "I thought I was nigher my journey's end than that, marm," said he.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan

British Dictionary definitions for nigher


adjective, adverb, preposition
  1. an archaic, poetic, or dialect word for near

Word Origin for nigh

Old English nēah, nēh; related to German nah, Old Frisian nei. Compare near, next
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 nigher



"near," Old English neah (West Saxon), neh (Anglian), common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon nah, Old Frisian nei, Middle Dutch, Dutch na, Old High German nah, German nah, Gothic nehwa), with no cognates outside Germanic. The Old English progression was neah - near - niehsta, for "nigh - near - next." But the comparative near and the superlative nehst (see next) gradually evolved into separate words not felt as related to nigh. New comparative and superlative forms nigher, nighest developed 14c. as phonetic changes obscured the original relationships. As an adjective from Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper