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

Based on his own experience, San Francisco bartender Mark Goodwin has started the Pin Project, a collective of bartenders who want to help those susceptible to the dangers of working in close proximity to alcohol. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: What’s up with those tall BART gates?," 10 July 2019 Again the state denied it, this time over concerns that chumming and capturing sharks in close proximity to the Cape’s beaches might change the animals’ behavior. Neil Swidey,, "We’re afraid of sharks. But maybe we’re not afraid enough.," 9 July 2019 Green made the rare move of going to the mound without making a pitching change, speaking with clear intent and in close proximity to Allen for several seconds before returning to the dugout. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Giants rip Allen, bullpen; Padres (save for Tatis, Naylor) quiet against Samardzija," 2 July 2019 Earlier this month, a comprehensive study that spanned more than 3 years, found no evidence of extraterrestrial life among more than 1,300 stars in close proximity to Earth. Fox News, "Extraterrestrials may spout out toxic gas as a sign of life, researchers suggest," 26 June 2019 In doing so, Trump overruled the Pentagon, which worried that the designation would put at risk U.S. military personnel operating in close proximity to Iranian forces in the region. Washington Post, "The immediate crisis abates but the potential for conflict with Iran persists," 23 June 2019 Rice was able to leave the state because his March charge, a first-degree misdemeanor count of loitering or prowling by certain offenders in close proximity to children, did not come with travel restrictions. Tiffini Theisen,, "Florida sex offender brought squirt gun, other toys to public pool to prowl for child victims, investigators say," 20 June 2019 According to minutes from the meeting, the store would be in close proximity to schools. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A shop that planned to sell CBD products will not be opening in Delafield," 19 June 2019 Taupin could only feel honored to have his work hung in close proximity to such masters, even placing one of his flag works between a pair of Picassos as a backdrop to his chat with gallery director Robert Avellano. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Elton John Lyricist Bernie Taupin Opens Art Exhibit in Beverly Hills," 7 June 2019

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

20 Jul 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 How to pronounce proximity (audio) \

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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