approach

verb
ap·​proach | \ ə-ˈprōch How to pronounce approach (audio) \
approached; approaching; approaches

Definition of approach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to draw closer to : near approach a destination
b : to come very near to : to be almost the same as … its mathematics approaches mysticism.— Theodore Sturgeon as the quantity x approaches zero
2a : to make advances to especially in order to create a desired result was approached by several Broadway producers
b : to take preliminary steps toward accomplishment or full knowledge or experience of Try to approach the subject with an open mind.

intransitive verb

1 : to draw nearer The time is fast approaching.
2 : to make an approach in golf

approach

noun
plural approaches

Definition of approach (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act or instance of approaching the approach of summer
b : approximation In this book he makes his closest approach to greatness.
2a : the taking of preliminary steps toward a particular purpose experimenting with new lines of approach
b : a particular manner of taking such steps a highly individual approach to language
3 : a means of access : avenue
4a or approach shot : a golf shot from the fairway toward the green
b : the steps taken by a bowler before delivering the ball also : the part of the alley behind the foul line from which the bowler delivers the ball
5 : the descent of an aircraft toward a landing place The plane was on final approach.
6 : the surgical procedure or path by which access is gained to a bodily part A lateral approach was used to direct a 25-gauge, 10-cm spinal needle onto the articular pillar adjacent to the target joint.— Leslie Barnsley et al.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for approach

Synonyms: Verb

belly up, close, close in, come up, draw on, near, nigh

Synonyms: Noun

avenue, passage, path, route, way

Antonyms: Verb

back (up or away), recede, retire, retreat, withdraw

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of approach in a Sentence

Verb

The cat approached the baby cautiously. Ease off the gas pedal to slow down as the bend in the road approaches. We are approaching the end of the fiscal year. This weekend we're expecting temperatures approaching 100 degrees. The success rates approach 90 percent. He has a wild laugh that sometimes approaches hysteria. a reproduction that approaches the quality of the original painting The supervisor is quite easy to approach, so don't hesitate to bring up any problems you have. We were advised to never be too aggressive when approaching a potential client.

Noun

trying a more healthy approach The cat made a cautious approach. The quiet afternoon was interrupted by the approach of a motorboat. A loud growl warned us of the bear's approach. With the approach of summer came longer, hotter days.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even more than even exercise, sleep is the gas for my tank, what puts me in a position to more clearly see everything else that needs to be done and be able to think strategically about approaching it. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Putting Your Family First Doesn’t Make You a Better Mom," 14 Jan. 2019 Of the enterprise vendors The Verge approached, some did not offer a direct response at all, including FaceFirst, Gemalto, and NEC. James Vincent, The Verge, "The tech industry doesn’t have a plan for dealing with bias in facial recognition," 26 July 2018 That would approach the record levels from the summer of 2016, according to Utility Dive. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Scott Pruitt is still under investigation by EPA watchdog," 13 July 2018 Royal fan account @harry_meghan_updates posted a video of the exchange, in which Meghan takes a quick, respectful dip downward as the King approaches her. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Curtsied to King Mohammed VI During Her and Prince Harry's Trip to Morocco," 26 Feb. 2019 If their fighting words annoy you the next day, give yourself some breathing room instead of approaching them again so soon. Caitlin Moscatello, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Should Never Do After a Fight With Your Partner," 20 Feb. 2019 As the one-year mark of the shooting approaches on Thursday, Parkland is struggling to heal. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "A Year After Parkland: Making Sure to Say, ‘I Love You’ at Morning Drop-Off," 12 Feb. 2019 The flights planned from Florida in 2019 will change the way the world approaches human spaceflight. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "America Is About to Take Back Human Spaceflight, and It's a Lot More Than Just Flag-Waving," 4 Jan. 2019 But at least one study has demonstrated that the chore can calm the washer down and increase inspiration—as long as one approaches the task the right way. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "Is Hand-Washing Dishes A Secret To The Success Of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates?," 29 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That said, there are plenty of treatment options at every price point, and as the experts will tell you that gentle, targeted approaches will always work better than too-harsh products that strip your skin of moisture. Allure, "The 14 Best Cystic Acne Treatments, According to Dermatologists," 28 Mar. 2019 This KonMari Method, as Kondo's method came to be known, is Marie's genius approach to cutting your hoarding habits. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Can You Marie Kondo Your Dating Life?," 25 Mar. 2019 Now, as April 5 (her official end date) approaches, the show's cast is getting increasingly sentimental about the fourth-hour host — and for good reason. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Kathie Lee Gifford Is Leaving 'Today' Very Soon and the Show's Cast Has Feelings About That," 13 Mar. 2019 This multi-disciplinary approach includes psychotherapy, working with a nutritionist or doctor, and meeting with a psychiatrist as well, if anxiety and depression are contributing factors. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Here's How to Tell If You Have Binge Eating Disorder," 8 Feb. 2019 Open access isn’t free, as many champions as well as critics of Rising Star’s approach to data accessibility point out. Lydia Pyne, Ars Technica, "Rising Star found a new species—now it wants to find a new way for paleoanthropology," 20 Dec. 2018 As the end of 2018 approaches, things aren’t slowing down: just last night, Ninja appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to talk all things Fortnite, including teaching the host his signature dance. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The year in Fortnite," 18 Dec. 2018 With so much time spent in the air, she's developed a unique approach to workwear. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "What I Wear to Work: Jen Rubio, President and Chief Brand Officer of Away," 25 Mar. 2019 But that’s only the start of the state’s smash-’n’-grab approach to the use of eminent-domain power. Walter Olson, WSJ, "Will Baltimore Make Off With the Races?," 24 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'approach.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of approach

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for approach

Verb and Noun

Middle English approchen, from Anglo-French aprocher, from Late Latin appropiare, from Latin ad- + prope near; akin to Latin pro before — more at for

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about approach

Statistics for approach

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for approach

The first known use of approach was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for approach

approach

verb

English Language Learners Definition of approach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move or become near or nearer to something or someone
: to move or become near or nearer in time to something
: to get close to (an amount or level)

approach

noun

English Language Learners Definition of approach (Entry 2 of 2)

: a way of dealing with something : a way of doing or thinking about something
: the act of moving or becoming near or nearer to someone or something : the act of approaching : an act or occurrence in which something comes nearer
: the act of speaking to someone for some purpose (such as to ask a question or make a request)

approach

verb
ap·​proach | \ ə-ˈprōch How to pronounce approach (audio) \
approached; approaching

Kids Definition of approach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to come near or nearer : draw close This train is approaching the station. The temperature is approaching 90 degrees.
2 : to begin to deal with approach a problem
3 : to start talking to for a specific purpose How can I approach the teacher about having cheated?

approach

noun

Kids Definition of approach (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of drawing near the approach of summer The cat made a cautious approach.
2 : a way of doing or thinking about something : a way of dealing with something
3 : a path or road to get to a place

approach

noun
ap·​proach | \ ə-ˈprōch How to pronounce approach (audio) \

Medical Definition of approach

: the surgical procedure by which access is gained to a bodily part

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on approach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with approach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for approach

Spanish Central: Translation of approach

Nglish: Translation of approach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of approach for Arabic Speakers

Comments on approach

What made you want to look up approach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!