See also: well nigh and wellnigh




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.
    • 1926, Suniti Kumar Chatterji, The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language, page 633:
      From the third quarter of the 18th century, there has been a steady accession of English words into Bengali, and through an intimate knowledge of the English language and English culture among the educated classes—and 'educated' is now almost synonymous with 'educated in English'—an unending stream of English words is now being admitted into Bengali ; and the process was never more active than at the present moment : so that it is well-nigh impossible now to estimate the English element in Bengali, alike in its extent and in its phonology.

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