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

Edwards walked a half mile from his house to junior high school and proximity-wise should have attended Seaside High School. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "For ASU's Herm Edwards, sports bubble helped to overcome racism growing up," 12 July 2018 The person who recorded the encounter told Gothamist that the woman with the stroller triggered the door's proximity alarm, prompting a response from other riders. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "A Hijabi Woman Was Verbally Accosted on an MTA Bus," 12 July 2018 But in addition to proximity to a neighborhood cinema (the Lake Zurich location also sits next to a multiplex), Highland Park shares with Lake Zurich a vibrant downtown and a community that supports its local businesses, Guili adds. Donald Liebenson,, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Beelow's NorthShore in Highland Park," 11 July 2018 Bigger isn’t better—proximity as an enhancer of player development The World Cup creates copycats. Brian Straus,, "Quarterfinal Stage a Narrative Tipping Point for World Cup Contenders," 5 July 2018 Because Ellington has early-Bird Rights with the Heat, the Heat, operating above the NBA salary cap, can offer a contract that starts at $10.9 million, a possibility limited by the team's proximity to the punitive luxury tax. Ira Winderman,, "Heat's Wayne Ellington ranks among best of unsigned free agents," 5 July 2018 Peak proximity will occur at 3:50 a.m. EDT on July 31. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse Will Shroud the Moon This Month," 2 July 2018 Also, because 191 is under the flight path, the FAA would have to sign off on any use other than storage, an absurd obstacle in light of 191’s close proximity to Liberty Station commerce. Logan Jenkins,, "Cliff-hanger update: 3 damsels no longer distressed," 2 July 2018 The Expressway park site offers accessibility, visibility, proximity to major youth soccer leagues, and land to meet current and future needs, FCC President and General manager Jeff Berding told council. Sheila Vilvens,, "Another project quietly approved in Clermont County during FC Cincinnati meeting," 2 July 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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Phrases Related to proximity

in close proximity

in close proximity to

Statistics for proximity

Last Updated

14 Sep 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

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an open space surrounded by woods

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