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

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 The music stops, thanks to a proximity sensor that detects if a user is wearing one or both earbuds. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 8 June 2021 But there is something else, too, in this new proximity to Yolanda. James Wood, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 Such decisions generally lead to city ordinances to establish tax rates and collection procedures, public education programs, and restrictions on things such as noise, odors and proximity to activities such as schools, playgrounds and churches. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 June 2021 And Ohio is in a good position, with available land, proximity to much of the country’s population, good railroad access and a rich manufacturing heritage. cleveland, 2 June 2021 By moving to Marsh, Ms. Brennan will work in closer proximity to Marsh McLennan’s largest business by revenue. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 31 May 2021 Still, Israelis and Palestinians confront the reality of proximity -- their past, present, and future are inextricably bound up by the short physical distances that connect their lives. Aaron David Miller, CNN, 28 May 2021 One person pointed me toward UC Berkeley research suggesting proximity to wind turbines can lead to lower property values. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 Increased utilization of helicopter transport meant the wounded made it to an operating room sooner, but close proximity also put nurses within range of hostile fire. Francine Uenuma, Time, 27 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for proximity

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proximity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce proximity (audio) \

Legal Definition of proximity

: the quality or state of being proximate


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