pro·​pin·​qui·​ty | \ prə-ˈpiŋ-kwə-tē How to pronounce propinquity (audio) \

Definition of propinquity

1 : nearness of blood : kinship
2 : nearness in place or time : proximity

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Getting Closer to the Meaning of Propinquity

Propinquity and its cousin "proximity" are related through the Latin root prope, which means "near." That root gave rise to "proximus" (the parent of "proximity") and "propinquus" (an ancestor of "propinquity"). "Proximus" is the superlative of "prope" and thus means "nearest," whereas "propinquus" simply means "near" or "akin," but in English "propinquity" conveys a stronger sense of closeness than "proximity." (The latter usually suggests a sense of being in the vicinity of something.) The distinctions between the two words are subtle, however, and they are often used interchangeably. "Propinquity" is believed to be the older of the two words, first appearing in English in the 14th century; "proximity" followed a century later.

Examples of propinquity in a Sentence

local housing prices, thanks to the propinquity of an especially picturesque beach, are out of the reach of many would-be buyers
Recent Examples on the Web For such profound propinquity, move from the free-flowing oceans to the more structured world of soil, where potential self-sacrificers can nestle next to each other. The Economist, "The viral universe Viruses have big impacts on ecology and evolution as well as human health," 20 Aug. 2020 Being a young creator of any kind is all about cheap rent and propinquity. Mary Kaye Schilling, New York Times, "The New York Building Inhabited Entirely by Creative People," 17 Apr. 2017 Now, a small New Jersey township is bracing for its own looming propinquity to the president. Emily Jane Fox, The Hive, "New Jersey Braces for the Trumpocalypse," 19 Apr. 2017

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for propinquity

Middle English propinquite, from Latin propinquitat-, propinquitas kinship, proximity, from propinquus near, akin, from prope near — more at approach

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Time Traveler for propinquity

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The first known use of propinquity was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Propinquity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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