near·​ly | \ ˈnir-lē How to pronounce nearly (audio) \

Definition of nearly

1 : in a close manner or relationship nearly related
2a : almost but not quite nearly identical nearly a year later
b : to the least extent not nearly as good as we expected

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Synonyms for nearly


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Examples of nearly in a Sentence

I see her nearly every day. We lived there for nearly two years. Nearly all of us got sick that weekend.
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Recent Examples on the Web Many utilities already have their own plans to slash nearly all of their emissions by retiring more of their coal units and bringing on more renewables over the next couple of decades. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Biden climate goals mean conflict with natural gas, the resource behind recent emissions reductions," 15 Feb. 2021 In 2019, only two midwestern names—Chicago and Minneapolis—appeared on that list, and nearly all the rest were on the coasts. Vauhini Vara, The Atlantic, "The One-Click Curse," 12 Feb. 2021 Jones said nearly all of the county's services are accessible online with the possible exception of court hearings. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, "Storm leaves state slippery," 12 Feb. 2021 The pandemic and a national reckoning over racial justice are fueling some Dallas school leaders’ vision of eliminating nearly all out-of-school suspensions for students. Talia Richman, Dallas News, "Will Dallas ban out-of-school suspensions for students?," 12 Feb. 2021 Based on the regulations and rulings, nearly all of Indiana’s coal ash pits have to close. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Other states are making utilities dig up toxic coal ash. Indiana is letting it sit there.," 11 Feb. 2021 And nearly all were denied professional advancement opportunities within the military. New York Times, "Undoing Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Policies Will Mean Looking at the Fine Print," 10 Feb. 2021 New Orleans could’ve quickly made any number of moves and nearly all of them would’ve satiated the appetite to change the narrative from a staggeringly disappointing team, into one eagerly setting the table toward its future. Scott Kushner,, "Kushner: Pelicans quiet trade rumors with recent success despite temptation of reset," 8 Feb. 2021 Five of the 10 largest metro districts have announced a timeline for middle schoolers to return, nearly all in April. oregonlive, "As Portland-area districts plan to reopen elementary grades, high schools left behind," 6 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nearly.' 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 nearly

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for nearly

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nearly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for nearly



English Language Learners Definition of nearly

: not completely : almost but not quite


near·​ly | \ ˈnir-lē How to pronounce nearly (audio) \

Kids Definition of nearly

1 : in a close manner or relationship They're nearly related.
2 : almost but not quite We're nearly finished.
3 : to the least extent It's not nearly enough.

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Comments on nearly

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