Definition of approach in English:


Syllabification: ap·proach
Pronunciation: /əˈprōCH


[with object]
  • 1Come near or nearer to (someone or something) in distance: the train approached the main line [no object]: she hadn’t heard him approach (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.
    move toward, come/go toward, advance toward, inch toward, go/come/draw/move nearer, go/come/draw/move closer, near; close in, gain on; reach, arrive at
  • 1.1Come near or nearer to (a future time or event): he was approaching retirement
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    • She's trailing in the polls approaching Election Day and the municipal tax base doesn't have the funds to cover the rising costs at local school boards.
    • Better results are expected in the near future as Bulgaria approaches EU integration, completes the privatisation process and sees its economy flourish.
    • The combination left him with a third second place - and no doubt a desire for revenge as he approached the 2001 event.
  • 1.2 [no object] (Of a future time) come nearer: the time is approaching when you will be destroyed
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    • A period of great political change in this part of Europe was approaching and events began to move quickly in 1866.
    • As the full moon approaches, events take an even more sinister turn.
    • This great event is rapidly approaching and the Fort Knox team is in its final planning stages of this annual gathering.
  • 1.3Come close to (a number, level, or standard) in quality or quantity: the population will approach 12 million by the end of the decade
    More example sentences
    • 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, verge on, approximate, touch, nudge, near, come near to, come close to
  • 1.4 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 something, typically with a proposal or request: the department had been approached about funding
    More example sentences
    • 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 advances to, make overtures to, make a proposal to, sound out, proposition
  • 3Start to deal with (something) in a certain way: one must approach the matter with caution
    More example sentences
    • One of your arguments is that a relevant matter in approaching our constitutional problem is that the respondent is resident in South Australia.
    • We cannot have a situation in which 43 different police forces approach the same problem in 43 different ways.
    • In order not to be consumed by it, I have to approach difficult problems with a healthy detachment.
    tackle, set about, address oneself to, undertake, get down to, launch into, embark on, go about, come to grips with


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  • 2An act of speaking to someone for the first time about something, typically a proposal or request: 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 Behavior 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
    More example sentences
    • 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.
  • 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 toward an airfield or runway for landing.
    More example sentences
    • 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.
  • 4 (usually approaches) A road, sea passage, or other way leading to a place: the eastern approach to the town
    More example sentences
    • 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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