prox·​im·​i·​ty | \ präk-ˈsi-mə-tē How to pronounce proximity (audio) \

Definition of proximity

: the quality or state of being proximate : closeness

You're So Close to Learning More About Proximity

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 Quantum mechanics prevent neutrons from occupying the same energy state in close proximity, and this prevents the neutrons from getting any closer and so blocks the collapse into a black hole. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 4 Aug. 2022 There’s bare skin, heat, sweat, bodies in close proximity, and water connecting us all to one another — all during a season of leisure with a particular significance in the American dream. Virgie Tovar,, 3 Aug. 2022 While Madison is the warmer of the two because Milwaukee benefits from its proximity to Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is also a larger city with more concrete and more residents vulnerable to extreme heat events. Madeline Heim, Journal Sentinel, 11 July 2022 Her recollections from her close proximity to the president and his inner circle suggest Trump's demands were not the brash desires of an impulsive commander in chief but part of his last-ditch plan for stopping Biden's victory. Lisa Mascaro, ajc, 9 July 2022 Furnald said Brady shows no exaggerated sense of importance from his proximity to the majors. Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Nestled between lush hills, a river, and a pilgrimage trail, the town has benefited from its proximity to nearby Airbus plants, boosting local companies and its technology institute. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 The light sparkled on the water, and the afternoon had a boozy, pleasure-cruise atmosphere, but some on board seemed to feel a frisson of danger from our proximity to the border. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 29 Mar. 2022 Connecticut towns and cities benefit from their proximity to interstates 84, 91 and 95 and, in many areas, flat land that can be used to build massive warehouses and distribution centers. Stephen Singer,, 25 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About proximity

Time Traveler for proximity

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About proximity

Dictionary Entries Near proximity



proximity effect

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for proximity

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Proximity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for proximity


prox·​im·​i·​ty | \ präk-ˈsi-mə-tē How to pronounce proximity (audio) \

Legal Definition of proximity

: the quality or state of being proximate

More from Merriam-Webster on proximity

Nglish: Translation of proximity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of proximity for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about proximity


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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