Word of the Day : February 6, 2012


noun pruh-PING-kwuh-tee


1 : nearness of blood : kinship

2 : nearness in place or time : proximity

Did You Know?

"Propinquity" and its cousin "proximity" are related through the Latin root "prope," which means "near." That root gave rise to "proximus" (the parent of "proximity") and "propinquus" (an ancestor of "propinquity"). "Proximus" is the superlative of "prope" and thus means "nearest," whereas "propinquus" simply means "near" or "akin," but in English "propinquity" conveys a stronger sense of closeness than "proximity." (The latter usually suggests a sense of being in the vicinity of something.) The distinctions between the two words are subtle, however, and they are often used interchangeably. "Propinquity" is believed to be the older of the two words, first appearing in English in the 14th century; "proximity" followed a century later.


Many of the retirement community's residents cite the propinquity of the area's various cultural offerings as a significant reason for their choice of the facility.

"Canada was faced with the overwhelming propinquity of the United States; it was just next door -- for almost nine thousand kilometres." -- From Derek Lundy's 2011 book Borderlands: Riding the Edge of America

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "propinquity" begins with "a" and can mean "to draw closer to"? The answer is ...


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