Definition of approach in English:


Line breaks: ap|proach
Pronunciation: /əˈprəʊtʃ


[with object]
  • 1Come near or nearer to (someone or something) in distance or time: the train approached the main line [no object]: winter was approaching (as adjective approaching) an approaching car
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    • In the distance could be heard approaching sirens.
    • I yelled, all of a sudden feeling frantic as I heard the train approaching the platform above me.
    • He could see, very faintly, a legion of soldiers in the distance, also approaching the forest.
    proceed towards, come/go towards, advance towards, go near/nearer, come near/nearer, draw near/nearer, come close/closer, go close/closer, draw close/closer, move near/nearer, edge near/nearer, near, draw near; close in on, centre on, focus on, converge on; catch up on, gain on; creep up on, loom; reach, arrive at
  • 1.1Come close to (a number, level, or standard) in quality or quantity: the population will approach 12 million by the end of the decade
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    • The Mitta Mitta rose to the occasion with a river level of 1.7m, approaching the 2m cut-off mark when nobody is permitted to kayak or raft the river.
    • Second generation bean leaf beetles are emerging now and beetles numbers will be approaching their highest levels for the summer.
    • It also will be impossible for the two teams to approach the Bucs' level of effectiveness.
    border on, approximate, verge on, resemble; be comparable/similar to, compare with; touch, nudge, get on for; near, come near to, come/be close to
    informal be not a million miles away from
  • 1.2 archaic Bring nearer: all those changes shall serve to approach him the faster to the blest mansion
  • 2Speak to (someone) for the first time about a proposal or request: the department had been approached about funding
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    • Three years ago, I approached her with a proposal.
    • Just in case anyone I work with is reading this, see if you can guess which current highly respected staff member approached me with this request.
    • Within South Africa short-listed artists were approached to submit proposals for work that would address the themes of the exhibition.
    speak to, talk to, make conversation with, engage in conversation; take aside, detain; greet, address, salute, hail, initiate a discussion with; broach the matter to, make advances to, make overtures to, make a proposal to, sound out, proposition, solicit, appeal to, apply to
    informal buttonhole


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  • 2An initial proposal or request made to someone: the landowner made an approach to the developer
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    • She said a survey had been carried out in Tosside following an approach from a planning agent on behalf of a local landowner.
    • It has already indicated that it has received an approach from a mystery bidder now known to be a private equity group.
    • The company is braced for an approach from its German rival with a plan that will see them merge their core operations.
  • 2.1 (approaches) • dated Behaviour intended to propose personal or sexual relations with someone: feminine resistance to his approaches
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    • She told a District Court inquiry this week that she had taped telephone conversations with him in 2000 and 2001 because she feared he would kill her after she rejected his approaches.
    • When she rejected his approaches, he began to treat her meanly and find fault with her.
    • But she knew why he would never because she would never accept his approaches.
  • 3 [in singular] The action of coming near or nearer to someone or something in distance or time: the approach of winter
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    • Lovely picture, though I don't care for the approach of winter that the orangey browns promise, I do love these colours.
    • Ethnographers say that Baba Marta is the threshold between the end of the winter season and the approach of summer.
    • Autumn is a season for spectacle, made all the more gaudy by the imminent approach of winter.
    advance, coming near/nearer, coming, nearing, advent; arrival, entrance, appearance
  • 3.1 (approach to) An approximation to something: the past is impossible to recall with any approach to accuracy
  • 3.2The part of an aircraft’s flight in which it descends gradually towards an airfield or runway for landing: I used to trim the plane back to about 50 mph for the final approach
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    • The approach and landing were uneventful and the crew and aircraft were recovered safely.
    • He set up for a half-flap approach and lowered the landing gear with the emergency system.
    • Keep the ball in the middle in all phases of the approach to align the aircraft for maximum efficiency.
  • 3.3 (usually approaches) A road, sea passage, or other way leading to a place: the northern approaches to London
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    • Three new pedestrian islands will be built and an anti-skid coating applied in Brunshaw Road on the approaches to the roundabout.
    • The war caused the temporary suspension of this plan; nevertheless, a sum of £6,600 was spent on concreting the quay roads and approaches to the berths.
    • The minehunters had been in the area clearing unexploded weapons, including mines, from the approaches to the port.


Middle English: from Old French aprochier, aprocher, from ecclesiastical Latin appropiare 'draw near', from ad- 'to' + propius (comparative of prope 'near').

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