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


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.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for approach

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb All of us must look outside of our three-foot world, rid ourselves of defensive mindsets and approach those talks with receptive minds and hearts. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic social media posts provide painful yet important lesson for all of us," 11 July 2020 As birthdays and important holidays approach, like the recent Father's Day, I am forced to reanalyze my social anxiety all over again. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Conversation anxiety puts the brakes on family communication," 6 July 2020 Video from the scene shows police cruisers pulling back as objects are thrown and several members of the crowd approach the vehicles. Fox News, "NYPD searching for man seen throwing glass bottle at cop car after police respond to shots fired reports," 29 June 2020 Ten seconds after the escorting police cars roll by, when the marchers approach, the kneeling man starts shouting at them. CNN, "NJ corrections officer may lose his job over George Floyd death re-enactment," 26 June 2020 At first, his family would call him and approach the window of the facility. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "Family describes 12th Alaskan to die with COVID-19 as a devoted husband and practical joker," 14 June 2020 Another innovative way to approach Lego challenges is to play the game Pictionary, only with Legos. Matt Villano, CNN, "5 Lego challenges to make a stay-at-home summer fly," 10 July 2020 According to the National Weather Service, the area will see highs in the 90s again on Wednesday with a heat index that could approach 100 in some areas. Mike Rose, cleveland, "Another hot day expected: Northeast Ohio’s Wednesday weather forecast," 7 July 2020 Then there's the question of whether players will accept a world where new big-budget games approach $70 as a matter of course. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "2K breaks gaming’s de facto $60 ceiling, asks $70 for next-gen NBA 2K21," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's the approach schools in New York, the nation's largest school district, plan to take. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, "L.A., San Diego schools will start online this fall - a growing trend against what Trump wants," 14 July 2020 Chadwick Tromp, like many hitters in this offensive-minded era, changed his stance, swing and approach at the plate to become more of a power threat. John Shea,, "Giants’ Chadwick Tromp making powerful case for Opening Night roster," 13 July 2020 Each approach appears legal and follows state funding rules, though all three carry potential tradeoffs or political ramifications. Jacob Carpenter,, "Some Texas schools may not reopen for in-person classes in August. Here’s how.," 13 July 2020 New Castle County’s new approach to tracking coronavirus estimates the amount of positive cases is more widespread than state testing has revealed. Krys'tal Griffin, Washington Post, "Delaware officials find a COVID-19 gold mine — in sewers," 12 July 2020 Behind this notion lay the belief that Britain could shape China’s approach to trade and human rights by doing business with it. The Economist, "Global Britain Britain’s worsening relations with China," 11 July 2020 New York: The League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit over the state’s approach to rejecting absentee ballots. Rachel Glickhouse, ProPublica, "Electionland 2020: NJ Primary, CDC Election Guidance, Fall Voting Plans and More," 10 July 2020 Mize hasn't pitched in the big leagues yet, but that won't stop Farmer from continuing to inquire about his offseason workout plan, mechanics and approach to certain batters. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Buck Farmer has matured to the point of asking Casey Mize for advice," 10 July 2020 Expect a revised front bumper to improve the approach angle, plus skid plates to protect the underbody, and a wider body and larger fender flares compared with the standard F-150. Mihir Maddireddy, Car and Driver, "2021 Ford F-150 Raptor: Here's What to Expect," 10 July 2020

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.

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First Known Use of approach


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


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

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Time Traveler for approach

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for approach

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Approach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for approach


How to pronounce approach (audio)

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)



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)


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?



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


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

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