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

The two newspapers were still competitors for six days of the week, despite the proximity and common ownership. Pete Corson, ajc, "Photos: Former Atlanta Constitution and Journal buildings," 14 June 2018 These Archetypes come with class-specific skills—for instance, the Sharpshooter can throw out a drone that automatically targets enemies and flushes them out of cover, while the Demolitionist has a proximity mine of sorts. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Hands-on: The Division 2's gorgeous Washington D.C recreation doesn't really show much yet," 13 June 2018 Two suspects were quickly arrested for the murder, and the incident had no relation to the festival other than proximity, but the 2017 Vegas shootings still hang heavy over music festivals this year. Isaac Weeks, Billboard, "Carolina Country Music Festival: A Beachside, Family-Friendly Fest That Continues to Grow," 13 June 2018 Which is why the previous record for proximity to the Suns has stood since 1976 when an American-West German joint project known as Helios 2 got within 27 million miles of our star. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Probe Gets Closer to Sun Than Any Human-Made Object in History," 30 Oct. 2018 Bitmain used its proximity and connections to the computer manufacturing hubs in China to build machines that were more efficient and profitable than any competitor. New York Times, "The People Leading the Blockchain Revolution," 27 June 2018 The company has promised to move its forest of steel power lines from the eastern side of Innes Avenue to the west, removing them from proximity to (and eyesight from) the trail. Leah Garchik,, "Natural promise at city’s southeastern corner," 25 June 2018 While that relationship and proximity might seem desirable today, Hofheinz worried the Missions were competition for the big league club. Kyle Ringo, San Antonio Express-News, "Missions bid farewell to lengthy affiliation with Lone Star circuit," 24 June 2018 Continental or regional loyalty, proximity and time zone, and more manageable scale were among the reasons offered by the bid and its supporters. Brian Straus,, "USA's Joint Bid Wins Right to Host 2026 World Cup in Overwhelming Vote," 13 June 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

16 Feb 2019

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).


very full or close together

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