From near +‎ -ly.



nearly (comparative nearlier or more nearly, superlative nearliest or most nearly)

  1. (now rare) With great scrutiny; carefully. [from 16th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, III.1:
      And whosoever hath traced mee and nearely [transl. de pres] looked into my humours, Ile loose a good wager if hee confesse not that there is no rule in their schoole, could, a midde such crooked pathes and divers windings, square and report this naturall motion, and maintaine an apparance of liberty and licence so equall and inflexible […].
  2. With close relation; intimately. [from 16th c.]
    • a. 1705, John Locke, “Of the Conduct of the Understanding”, in Posthumous Works of Mr. John Locke: [], London: [] A[wnsham] and J[ohn] Churchill, [], published 1706, OCLC 6963663:
      Let that which he learns next be nearly conjoined with what he knows already.
    • 1837, The Dublin University Magazine
      She could have joined most comfortably in all their supposings, and suspicions, and doubts, and prognostications, but the honour of the family was too nearly concerned to allow free reins to her tongue.
    • 1847, Herman Melville, Omoo
      [H]e was also accounted a man of wealth, and was nearly related to a high chief.
  3. Closely, in close proximity. [from 16th c.]
  4. In close approximation; almost, virtually. [from 17th c.]
    He left a nearly full beer on the bar.
    I nearly didn't go to work yesterday.
    He was (so/very) nearly caught.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      She was like a Beardsley Salome, he had said. And indeed she had the narrow eyes and the high cheekbone of that creature, and as nearly the sinuosity as is compatible with human symmetry.
    • 1956 [1880], Johanna Spyri, Heidi, translation of original by Eileen Hall, page 97:
      'Since Heidi's been here, delightful things have happened nearly every day.'
    • 2013 May-June, Kevin Heng, “Why Does Nature Form Exoplanets Easily?”, in American Scientist[2], volume 101, number 3, page 184:
      In the past two years, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has located nearly 3,000 exoplanet candidates ranging from sub-Earth-sized minions to gas giants that dwarf our own Jupiter.
  5. Stingily.




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