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 Hillstead said his even-keel nature comes from experiencing a family tragedy several years ago, which taught him how to approach situations differently. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Here are 5 Utah high school quarterbacks to watch next football season," 3 May 2021 Hinds saw how the older players carried themselves each day, learning about routines and how to approach each at-bat. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "RedsXtra: Why Rece Hinds could be the next star Cincinnati Reds prospect," 24 Apr. 2021 Gallup found that employees suffering burnout have 13% lower confidence in their performance and are half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager. Alain Hunkins, Forbes, "Burnout Boom: 9 Ways To Protect Your High-Potentials," 18 Apr. 2021 Former Cowboys safety Darren Woodson recently joined the K&C Masterpiece show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] to talk about how the Cowboys should approach the 2021 NFL draft. Dallas News, "Darren Woodson says if Cowboys are looking to draft a defensive playmaker, they need to ‘get one early’," 18 Apr. 2021 The city of Cleveland and the DOJ entered into a reform agreement known as a Consent Decree on June 12, 2015 designed to create deep structural changes in how police approach their jobs. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Here are some of the police shootings in Cleveland since the 2014 killing of Tamir Rice," 16 Apr. 2021 Voice, neutrality, respect and trust are at the core of the model on how an officer should approach a crisis situation. Star Tribune, "A day-by-day recap of the Derek Chauvin murder trial," 15 Apr. 2021 If your teen comes to you beforehand worried about how to approach the breakup, Solomon advises parents to do a role-play or brainstorm a script that avoids finger-pointing and character assassination. Washington Post, "Teens are terrible at breaking up. Here are six ways parents can help them improve.," 15 Apr. 2021 And doing more to model in our own behavior how to approach these difficult issues. David Malakoff, Science | AAAS, "‘Sink into your grief.’ How one scientist confronts the emotional toll of climate change," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Blazers have clearly played better basketball as of late, and the reasons can be traced back to the team’s growth and approach. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers ‘playing together,’ eyeing 5th in West as they enter season’s final stretch," 7 May 2021 Take a metaphorical weedwhacker to your processes and past approach. Kimberly Janson, Forbes, "The Power Of Simplicity: How To Avoid Over Complicating Things At Work," 6 May 2021 Nahrstadt’s abilities to build relationships and approach issues collaboratively have been a couple of his biggest assets as a manager and a negotiator for the village, according to Frum. Kaitlin Edquist,, "Marking a period of major leadership change, Northbrook’s longtime Village President Sandy Frum and Village Manager Richard Nahrstadt prepare to leave positions," 3 May 2021 Trask’s patient approach and ability to develop behind the scenes was among his many selling points to the Bucs. Edgar Thompson,, "UF QB Kyle Trask headed down I-75 to join Tampa Bay Bucs," 1 May 2021 After all, any compromise discussions require first determining one’s own goals and approach. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Another Twist of the Knife: Introducing a New Death Tax," 1 May 2021 Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said that AstraZeneca, despite facing disappointments and criticism, doesn’t regret its Covid-19 vaccine effort or no-profit approach with Oxford. Jenny Strasburg And Cecilia Butini, WSJ, "AstraZeneca Lost Money on Its Covid-19 Vaccine," 30 Apr. 2021 It’s a feat rarely achievable at your local automatic car wash with its imprecise, floppy brushes and one-spray-fits-most approach. Anthony Alaniz, Popular Mechanics, "How to Wash Your Car Like a Pro in 12 Steps," 29 Apr. 2021 Additionally, the Southwest team works each day to ensure that our multi-layered approach to supporting our employees’ and customers’ safety stays current with research findings and public health recommendations. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "'I love my airline, but they didn't love me back': Southwest flight attendant blames airline for husband's COVID death," 28 Apr. 2021

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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Approach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for approach



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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