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See also: well nigh and wellnigh

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AdverbEdit

well-nigh (not comparable)

  1. Almost, nearly.
    • 1360s, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Romaunt of the Rose[1]:
      Sir, ſayid Strainid Abſtinaunce,
      We for to dryin our penaunce
      With hertis pitous and devout
      Are commen as pilgrimes gon about;
      Well nigh on fote alwaie we go;
      Full doughtie ben our helis two,
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto I, page 3:
      The ſame ſo ſore annoyed has the Knight, / That well-nigh choaked with the deadly ſtink,
    • 1816, Sir Walter Scott, The Antiquary:
      The household cock had given his first summons, and the night was wellnigh spent.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night:
      [] Sindbad the Seaman continued:— So when I escaped drowning and reached the island which afforded me fruit to eat and water to drink, I returned thanks to the Most High and glorified Him; after which I sat till nightfall, hearing no voice and seeing none inhabitant. Then I lay down, well-nigh dead for travail and trouble and terror, and slept without surcease till morning, []
    • 1910, Erwin Rosen, In the Legion[2], HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2012:
      There was only one objection to the fulfilment of this wish: the regimental coffers were wellnigh empty.

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