prox·​im·​i·​ty präk-ˈsi-mə-tē How to pronounce proximity (audio)
: the quality or state of being proximate : closeness

Did you know?

You're So Close to Learning More About Proximity

The fact that the star closest in proximity to our sun (approximately 4.2 light-years distant) is named Proxima Centauri is no coincidence. The history of proximity hinges on the idea of closeness, both physical and metaphorical. English speakers borrowed the word from Middle French, which in turn acquired it from forms of the Latin adjective proximus, meaning "nearest" or "next." Close relatives of proximity in English include proximal, proximate, and the somewhat more rare approximal (meaning "contiguous"). A number of other languages, including Catalan, Portuguese, and Italian, have similar words that come from the Latin proximus.

Examples of proximity in a Sentence

the proximity of the curtains to the fireplace was a cause of concern for the safety inspector
Recent Examples on the Web There is also proximity to the area’s dining, shopping, and entertainment scene, including Fareway Meat Market, a boutique shopping experience within walking distance of the community. The Willows | A Covenant – Rodrock Homes Community, Kansas City Star, 25 Feb. 2024 The stakes are high, as the increased presence and closer proximity of Chinese and Taiwanese coast guard vessels raise the specter of miscalculations that could potentially spiral into open conflict. Nectar Gan, CNN, 20 Feb. 2024 Similarly, proximity to a Saudi regime that carves up its critics is deeply uncomfortable. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Another problem was the proximity of the city’s only public dumping ground. Richard Selcer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 17 Feb. 2024 If proximity to the ski slopes is your priority, consider The Lodge at Spruce Peak, a sprawling resort complete with outdoor hot tubs, on-site restaurants, and a fabulous spa. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Feb. 2024 In addition to its proximity to key minerals and an industrial work force, Mo i Rana also offers cheap and green electricity thanks to hydropower fueled by snow melt, glacial runoff and the waterfalls that cascade through its craggy mountains. Ana Swanson Thomas Ekström, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2024 When in a forest, stay in proximity to shorter tree groupings. Star-Telegram Bot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11 Feb. 2024 However, last March both sides agreed a change was needed, with the city administrator citing contract language and price and the sheriff mentioning a lack of proximity to other communities its deputies cover. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'proximity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French proximité, from Latin proximitat-, proximitas, from proximus

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of proximity was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near proximity

Cite this Entry

“Proximity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


prox·​im·​i·​ty präk-ˈsim-ət-ē How to pronounce proximity (audio)
: the state or condition of being near : nearness

Legal Definition


prox·​im·​i·​ty präk-ˈsi-mə-tē How to pronounce proximity (audio)
: the quality or state of being proximate

More from Merriam-Webster on proximity

Last Updated: - Updated Did you know?
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!