prox·​i·​mate | \ ˈpräk-sə-mət How to pronounce proximate (audio) \

Definition of proximate

1 : immediately preceding or following (as in a chain of events, causes, or effects) proximate, rather than ultimate, goals— Reinhold Niebuhr
2a : very near : close
b : soon forthcoming : imminent

Other Words from proximate

proximately adverb
proximateness noun

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You can approach a better understanding of this word, and an approximation of its history, if you recognize its two cousins in this sentence. Proximate derives from Latin proximatus, itself the past participle of the verb proximare, meaning "to approach." The noun "approximation" and both the noun and verb "approximate" derive from "proximare" (via the Late Latin verb approximare). "Proximare," in turn, comes from "proximus" ("nearest, next") and can be traced back to the adjective prope, meaning "near." "Prope" is also an ancestor of the English verb "approach," as well as "proximity," "propinquity," and "reproach."

Examples of proximate in a Sentence

the proximate cause of the fire the proximate publication of his first novel
Recent Examples on the Web So all of these kind of enablers, the logistics, all of these things that are kind of proximate indicators. CBS News, 16 Feb. 2022 For many years, they were bumped to the back of the line, their applications rejected in favor of refugees from more urgent and proximate conflicts, like that in Syria. New York Times, 5 Feb. 2022 Silo off parts of your home where your phone is not physically proximate, such as the dinner table and the bedroom. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2021 The fact that Taiwan is so physically proximate to the PRC only emphasizes how different their political systems are, and how much more closely aligned Taiwan is with the US on a number of these core values. Lanhee J. Chen, CNN, 15 Apr. 2021 The proximate cause of the unrest being police violence and the underlying issues that have fueled the protests, which are continued racial equality and discrimination and socioeconomic exclusion, are really at the heart of both. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 2 June 2020 The proximate cause was the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed African-American man, by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 1 June 2020 Of course, the proximate cause of the protests this time is the coronavirus lockdowns rather than Obamacare, although the feel of the demonstrations — expressing populist anger at government overreach — is the ... Madeleine Kearns, National Review, 25 Apr. 2020 The proximate cause of these firms’ miseries is familiar to anyone who’s not been comatose for the past two months: the coronavirus pandemic and its concomitant impact on the economy. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, 27 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proximate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of proximate

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for proximate

Latin proximatus, past participle of proximare to approach, from proximus nearest, next, superlative of prope near — more at approach

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The first known use of proximate was in 1661

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Dictionary Entries Near proximate

proximal convoluted tubule


proximate matter

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Cite this Entry

“Proximate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for proximate


prox·​i·​mate | \ ˈpräk-sə-mət How to pronounce proximate (audio) \

Medical Definition of proximate

1a : very near
b : next, preceding, or following especially : relating to or being a proximate cause
2 : determined by proximate analysis

Other Words from proximate

proximately adverb


prox·​i·​mate | \ ˈpräk-sə-mət How to pronounce proximate (audio) \

Legal Definition of proximate

1 : next immediately preceding or following (as in a chain of causation, events, or effects) : being or leading to a particular especially foreseeable result without intervention — see also proximate cause at cause sense 1
2 : very or relatively close or near would be sufficiently proximate to the commencement of the defendant's trialJohnson v. New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719 (1966)

Other Words from proximate

proximately adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on proximate

Britannica English: Translation of proximate for Arabic Speakers


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