prox·​im·​i·​ty | \präk-ˈsi-mə-tē \

Definition of proximity 

: the quality or state of being proximate : closeness

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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 Latin proximitat-, proximitas, forms of the adjective proximus, meaning "nearest" or "next." A number of other languages, including Catalan, Portuguese, and Italian, derived similar words from Latin proximus. Other descendants of "proximus" in English include "proximal," "proximate," and the somewhat more rare "approximal" (meaning "contiguous").

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

That proximity to the water is something the festival organizers try to capitalize on. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "There's no shortage of kid-friendly fun and food at Summerfest this year. Here's our guide.," 18 June 2018 So, Meghan’s proximity to whiteness wasn’t a determining factor in the Crown accepting her into the fold? Kirsten West Savali, The Root, "Al Sharpton Claims ‘White Male Supremacy’ Is ‘On Its Last Breath’ Because Harry Married Meghan, and I Need Him To Stop Talking," 20 May 2018 That probably won’t ever change, but the proximity will be different. Adam Baum,, "Colerain baseball's Martinis: 'They're just identical in every sense of the word'," 4 May 2018 Despite all the talk of transit and traffic in Charlotte, Tinucci said proximity to major interstates is key for many residents who commute to the city for work. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Here's why home construction is booming in Charlotte's suburbs | Charlotte Observer," 24 Apr. 2018 Convenient proximity to everything downtown Indy has to offer at your doorstep is the biggest selling point for most prospective buyers considering this vicinity. Shelley Specchio, Indianapolis Star, "Discovering Indianapolis' vibrant downtown neighborhood," 13 Apr. 2018 The proximity of Adidas' North American headquarters in Portland to the Seattle campus was another plus. Jeff Manning,, "Adidas offer for UW apparel deal topped Nike's by $20 million," 12 Apr. 2018 The state’s proximity to the capital is facilitating countless informal trips, with students, teachers, administrators and parents sharing plans to carpool. Talia Richman,, "Maryland students headed to D.C. for anti-gun violence march," 23 Mar. 2018 McIlroy is right: alcohol, sunshine and proximity to players is a treacherous blend. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "Limit alcohol to fans, but golfers also need thicker skin," 21 Mar. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for proximity

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

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Statistics for proximity

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for proximity

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

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More Definitions for proximity



English Language Learners Definition of proximity

: the state of being near


prox·​im·​i·​ty | \präk-ˈsi-mə-tē \

Legal Definition of proximity 

: the quality or state of being proximate

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Comments on proximity

What made you want to look up proximity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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