1. all but; almost: nearly dead with cold.
  2. with close approximation: a nearly perfect likeness.
  3. with close agreement or resemblance: a plan nearly like our own.
  4. with close kinship, interest, or connection; intimately: nearly associated in business; two women nearly related.


  1. not quite; almost; practically
  2. not nearly nowhere near; not at allnot nearly enough money
  3. closelythe person most nearly concerned

adv.1530s, “carefully;” sense of “almost, all but” is from 1680s; see near + -ly (2).

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