approach

verb
ap·​proach | \ ə-ˈprōch \
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.

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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

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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

Fond Farewell As a child approaches 2, NFP nurses start winding down their home visits, helping the moms find affordable child care and transition into life after the program. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "This Nurse Helps New Moms When They're Most Vulnerable," 8 Jan. 2019 In another incident, a Waymo car was part of a line of cars approaching an intersection where a car crash was blocking the right lane. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Even self-driving leader Waymo is struggling to reach full autonomy," 7 Dec. 2018 Jefferson, an Inglewood resident, was standing on a corner when a dark-colored vehicle with several male occupants approached and at least one person opened fire, the Los Angeles Times reported. Fox News, "Father of NBA player Richard Jefferson slain in California drive-by shooting," 21 Sep. 2018 Reporters who are on the scene covering the tragedy documented people approaching the cars and placing mementos on social media. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "People Are Leaving Flowers and Stuffed Animals on Cars Left Behind by Ride the Ducks Victims," 20 July 2018 Pierpaolo Piccioli, who delivered two breathtaking couture turns at Valentino this year, has been celebrated for approaching his ready-to-wear with a couture-like approach, adding the kind of artisanal details only a skilled hand can create. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Couture Is All About the Details—Glorious Details. Here, Our 45 Best Close-Ups from the 2018 Collections," 29 Dec. 2018 Here’s the even worse news, though: If May’s deal is bad, a no-deal Brexit scenario — which will happen if a final deal isn’t approved by the fast-approaching March 29, 2019, deadline — would be potentially catastrophic for the UK. Jen Kirby, Vox, "EU to UK: take the Brexit deal or else," 30 Nov. 2018 Seriously, just try to think about the too-quickly-approaching work week or the state of RBG's ribcage when looking at pictures of Joe Biden rescuing a puppy. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Joe Biden Adopts Adorable Shelter Dog," 18 Nov. 2018 Kacey approached Ruston after the performance and introduced herself. Marie Milano, Country Living, "How Kacey Musgraves's Marriage to Husband Ruston Kelly Inspired Her Album 'Golden Hour'," 13 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Layered bracelets and mixed metals with splashes of ocean blue are thematic and fit into the collectible approach of summertime jewelry stacking (and don't need to be all puka shells—luxe stones take things up a notch). Julia Gall, Marie Claire, "5 Accessory Trends You'll See Everywhere This Year," 24 Jan. 2019 Scientists have recently learned that the approach to gene editing can inadvertently wipe out and rearrange large swaths of DNA in ways that may imperil human health. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Is the CRISPR baby controversy the start of a terrifying new chapter in gene editing?," 22 Jan. 2019 Form follows function, but her formal approach is her own. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "60 Seconds with...Mariam Kamara," 22 Jan. 2019 Below, Zeichner and Mattioli share their top tips on the best, most up-to-date approaches to dealing with acne as a grown-up. Katheryn Erickson, Glamour, "Adult Acne: The Unfair Reason You're Still Breaking Out in Your 20s and 30s," 19 Jan. 2019 In Mortal Engines, a CG character named Shrike seems like a likely candidate for the same approach to character generation. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "How Weta Digital created the steampunk world of Mortal Engines," 21 Dec. 2018 Intel Singhal said the three approaches should boost the performance of Sunny Cove CPUs. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Surprise! Intel reveals 10nm Sunny Cove CPU cores that go deeper, wider, and faster," 12 Dec. 2018 All-natural Monopoles On the other side of the world, scientists are taking a different approach. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 Designing with her family in mind is a priority for Joanna, who recounts the epiphany that led to that approach in her new design book, Homebody. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Reveals the One Thing Chip Asked for When They Bought Their Farmhouse," 27 Jan. 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.

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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

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Statistics for approach

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for approach

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

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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 \
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 \

Medical Definition of approach

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

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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

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