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 The Bulldogs nearly pulled out a road win Wednesday at No. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "After blowout loss, Butler hoping only thing it lost Sunday was the game," 23 Feb. 2020 Given exponential growth dynamics of infectious diseases, containing an epidemic is straightforward early on, but nearly impossible once a disease spreads among a population. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, "How the Coronavirus Revealed Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw," 22 Feb. 2020 English has been the language of instruction in nearly all schools since 1987, to reinforce Singapore’s global competitive edge. The Economist, "Banyan Singapore has almost wiped out its mother tongues," 22 Feb. 2020 Because increasingly work has become custom, rather than using off-the-shelf parts, finding an alternative source may be at best costly and at worst nearly impossible. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "94% of the Fortune 1000 are seeing coronavirus supply chain disruptions: Report," 21 Feb. 2020 There was just one problem: Going to a galaxy far, far away on a TV budget was nearly impossible. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "ILM Used Fortnite Tech to Make The Mandalorian’s Virtual Sets," 20 Feb. 2020 Digital therapeutics nearly always leverage a company’s go-to-market to gain market access (reimbursement) and garner health care professional referrals if a prescription is required. Sean Duffy, STAT, "Digital therapeutics vs. digital care: defining the landscape," 20 Feb. 2020 With the 100x lens’s field of view approximating what you’d get from a telescope, hand-holding that long of a lens is nearly impossible. Popular Science, "Samsung’s 100x zooming smartphone camera requires a fancy lens and impossibly steady hands," 12 Feb. 2020 Having to go out of state for fertility treatments and transfers is expensive — and nearly impossible for most working people. Lia De Feo,, "Embracing the Joys of Pregnancy After Loss: My Surrogacy Journey," 12 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for nearly

Time Traveler

The first known use of nearly was in 1561

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Statistics for nearly

Last Updated

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nearly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce nearly (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on nearly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nearly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nearly

Spanish Central: Translation of nearly

Nglish: Translation of nearly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nearly for Arabic Speakers

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