There are 2 main definitions of close in English:

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close 1

Pronunciation: /kləʊs/


1Only a short distance away or apart in space or time: the hotel is close to the sea her birthday and mine were close together why don’t we go straight to the shops, as we’re so close?
More example sentences
  • A move to the village would give the Duchess her independence while allowing her daughters to be in close proximity to their father.
  • A few people, almost invariably working in close proximity to birds, have been infected and become seriously ill.
  • It is much smoother and more intimate than the ballroom tango, with the couple's upper bodies close together and lower bodies apart.
near, adjacent, in close proximity, close/near at hand;
not far from, in the vicinity of, in the neighbourhood of, within reach of, within close range of;
neighbouring, hard by, adjoining, abutting, alongside, on the doorstep, within sight, within earshot, a stone's throw away;
accessible, handy, convenient, walkable
informal within spitting distance, {a hop, a skip, and a jump away}, within sniffing distance
archaic nigh
1.1With very little or no space in between; dense: cloth with a close weave this work occupies over 1,300 pages of close print
More example sentences
  • It was slow work, for the trees were close, and in places dense with the bare vines and stalks of undergrowth.
  • He pulled out a sheet of thin blue paper covered in close type.
  • If the agreement is in writing it may be in very close print on the back of a delivery docket or ticket.
dense, compact, tight, close-packed, tightly packed, packed, solid, condensed, compressed, concentrated;
crowded, cramped, crammed, congested, crushed, squeezed, jammed
1.2Narrowly enclosed: animals in close confinement
More example sentences
  • The tiny but sturdy craft was tossed precariously by the rip tides created in the close waterway.
  • In this narrow and close environment it became inevitable that Brenda and Henry should clash.
  • Sows in close confinement on concrete have a higher incidence of injuries to feet.
1.3 (close to) Very near to (being or doing something): on a good day the climate in LA is close to perfection she was close to tears
More example sentences
  • He was close to tears in breaking the news to me over the telephone.
  • Specialist poultry breeders are close to ruin because of the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
  • I had a low point towards the end of last season and that is why I was close to leaving the club, but now I am at my best ever level.
on the verge of, near, on the brink of, on the point of, within an ace of, in danger of
1.4(With reference to a competitive situation) involving only a small margin between winner and loser: the race will be a close contest she finished a close second
More example sentences
  • If the large crowd thought that the first half was a close contest the second half was to be an even closer affair.
  • This left the overall result very close, but the winner was Steve Mascari with a total of 31 pts.
  • I hope the matches this week are close, competitive and courteous.
evenly matched, even, well matched;
neck and neck, side by side, nose to nose, with nothing to choose between them;
hard-fought, sharply contested, nip and tuck
2 [attributive] Denoting a family member who is part of a person’s immediate family, typically a parent or sibling: the family history of cancer in close relatives
More example sentences
  • Now children who have lost a parent or a close family member are being offered the chance to meet up with others who understand their suffering.
  • I have been through this and seen close family members go through it.
  • People who have cars and trucks gather basic things and flee with their family members and close relatives.
immediate, direct, near
2.1On very affectionate or intimate terms: they had always been very close, with no secrets at all
More example sentences
  • My close friend and confidante was my cousin Kitty, the closest to me in age and the only other girl.
  • I enjoyed living in the country and valued the close friends I made there.
  • Little by little however, she seemed to get comfortable with the fact that I wanted to be close and intimate with her.
intimate, dear, bosom;
close-knit, inseparable, attached, loving, devoted, faithful, constant;
special, good, best, fast, firm, valued, treasured, cherished
North American informal buddy-buddy, palsy-walsy
2.2(Of a connection or resemblance) strong: the college has close links with many other institutions
More example sentences
  • He built up a strong party organization with close links to the trade unions.
  • I must stress that I have no close connection with the Choral Union.
  • The competition was dreamed up by staff at the Lowry in response to claims by many visitors that dogs in the pictures bear a close resemblance to their own.
strong, marked, distinct, pronounced
3(Of observation, examination, etc.) done in a careful and thorough way: pay close attention to what your body is telling you about yourself
More example sentences
  • The best precautionary measure is close observation of the patient's condition.
  • Again, Leonardo used his method of close observation to study how machines work.
  • Doctors said she wakened after the surgery and was being kept under close observation.
careful, detailed, thorough, minute, painstaking, meticulous, assiduous, diligent, rigorous, scrupulous, conscientious, attentive, focused, intent, concentrated, searching, methodical
vigilant, watchful, keen, alert
3.1Carefully guarded: his whereabouts are a close secret
More example sentences
  • The third part of the trilogy is being kept a close secret.
  • They announced the pregnancy in January after their romance had been kept a close secret.
  • And while this was being sorted out, the brotherhood tried to keep the problem a close secret.
carefully guarded, closely guarded, strict, tight
3.2Not willing to give away money or information; secretive: you’re very close about your work, aren’t you?
More example sentences
  • I've been begging her to let me meet you all for quite some time, but she's kept very close about it.
  • She was quite close with money, and they often had horrendous arguments about spending.
informal playing one's cards close to one's chest
4Uncomfortably humid or airless: a close, hazy day it was very close in the dressing room
More example sentences
  • It was in the middle of the afternoon that some people began to notice a change, it began to get close and unseasonably warm.
  • As many as 30,000 people are crammed into close, hot and extremely humid quarters.
  • At weddings and religious ceremonies where attendees were crowded and when the atmosphere was very close, these "portable air conditioners" were in great demand.
5 Phonetics another term for high (sense 7 of the adjective).
Example sentences
  • Its vowel height is near-close, which means the tongue is positioned similarly to a close vowel, but slightly less constricted.
  • In the following presentation both the 'open' and the 'close' pronunciation of each of the five vowels is illustrated.


(often close to)
Very near to someone or something; with very little space between: they stood close to the door he was holding her close
More example sentences
  • She squealed, as he moved dangerously close to the edge of the pool.
  • He just kissed my cheek and pulled me even closer to his chest.
  • He smiled and Thomas and I leaned even closer to hear him as his voice dropped with each passing word.


[often in names] British
1A residential street without through access: she lives at 12 Goodwood Close
More example sentences
  • There were no streets, only avenues, crescents and closes.
  • Elsewhere, sober stone houses peek coyly at one and other across cobbled streets and evocative old closes.
  • Around every corner lies another close, another lane, the bright sun throwing the rough stone walls into relief.
street, road, cul-de-sac;
1.1The precinct surrounding a cathedral.
Example sentences
  • She has come a long way from the Aga saga and the cathedral close.
  • The museum is in the heart of historic Salisbury, in the cathedral close.
  • Stuff like this gives just as much pleasure as a cathedral close or a Regency arcade.
1.2A playing field at certain traditional English public schools.
Example sentences
  • It was back in 1823 when Rugby School pupil William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it during a game of football on The Close that one of the world's most popular sports was created.
1.3Scottish An entry from the street to a common stairway or to a court at the back of a building.
Example sentences
  • Most tenements have a back entrance leading from the common close.
  • Although Scotland's tenement flats are a well-loved part of urban culture, the upkeep of closes, roofs and other common areas can be a source of disastrous friction.
  • The tenement close was a semi-private extension of the street.



at (or in) close quarters

Very or uncomfortably close to someone or something: he witnessed the atrocities of war at close quarters housing shortages force people to live in close quarters
More example sentences
  • Lack of intimacy and diversity of interpretation means my account cannot lay claim to the kind of authority biography has when conducted at close quarters and with access to uncontested evidence.
  • Living in close quarters with her, I decided that the time had come for me to learn how to speak my mother tongue.
  • There will inevitably continue to be problems that arise from living in close quarters while performing a lengthy, gruelling activity.

close by

Very near; nearby: her father lives quite close by
More example sentences
  • It is one of the only churches in the region without a graveyard adjacent to it or close by.
  • Lyon International airport is also close by, and you can access the ski resorts very easily in winter.
  • They now have five children and eight grandchildren, all living close by.

close to (or close on)

(Of an amount) almost; very nearly: he spent close to 30 years in jail
More example sentences
  • When you add up both candidates' programmes, they amount to close on $3 trillion each.
  • It made the Mughal army supremely powerful and effective for close on 150 years.
  • Before the end of the weekend it is estimated that he lost close to a million pounds in deals.

close to the bone

see bone.

close to one's heart

see heart.

close to home

see home.

close up

Very near: close up she was no less pretty
More example sentences
  • Close up he was overpoweringly handsome, with hazel to brown eyes and tousled sand coloured hair slightly wet from a shower.
  • Parties of sightseers would be ferried out to sail round the hulks and see the prisons close up.
  • A Japanese tourist is photographing it enthusiastically, first from close up then at a distance.

come close

Almost achieve or do: he came close to calling the Prime Minister a liar
More example sentences
  • It doesn't come close to achieving that target.
  • Alexander was the first to dream of world domination and to come close to achieving it.
  • Of course she knew where he was now, knew that he had come close to achieving his lofty goals, and she honoured him for that.

too close for comfort

Dangerously or uncomfortably near: he sat on the edge of the bed, far too close for comfort figurative an issue being discussed with a sufferer may be too close for comfort to the counsellor’s personal experience
More example sentences
  • Instead, he inched closer, too close for comfort.
  • I absolutely refused to go anywhere near the wild dogs - they seemed way too close for comfort.
  • All he did was take one step, and suddenly, he was too close for comfort.



Example sentences
  • It is closish to where I work, it has a nice shady yard, the main living area is open and airy, it has a huge screened porch where the little furry ladies and I can luxuriate.
  • Hay-on-Wye is in Powys, Wales, and across the border it's closish to Hereford.
  • On foot it is possible to get closish to the herons only after crossing difficult and dangerous fens and is, therefore, wholly inadvisable.


Middle English: from Old French clos (as noun and adjective), from Latin clausum 'enclosure' and clausus 'closed', past participle of claudere.

Words that rhyme with close

appose, arose, Bose, brose, chose, compose, diagnose, self-diagnose, doze, enclose, expose, foreclose, froze, hose, impose, interpose, juxtapose, Montrose, noes, nose, oppose, plainclothes, pose, propose, prose, rose, suppose, those, transpose, underexpose, uprose

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: close

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There are 2 main definitions of close in English:

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close 2

Pronunciation: /kləʊz/


1Move so as to cover an opening: [no object]: she jumped on to the train just as the doors were closing [with object]: she closed the door quietly I kept closing my eyes and nodding off they had to close the window because of the insects
More example sentences
  • Looking to the mouth of the alleyway Carl saw the woman in the blue dress climb into the limo and watched as the door closed and the window came down.
  • When I heard the door close I moved back farther on the bed to where the pillows were and cried into them.
  • In spite of Mrs Major locking all the doors, back and front and closing all the handy windows… they got in.
fasten, secure, lock, bolt, bar, latch, padlock;
put up the shutter
1.1 [with object] Block up (a hole or opening): close the hole with a plug of cotton wool figurative Stephen closed his ears to the sound
More example sentences
  • If there's a security hole in a piece of software, the hole can be closed or mitigated.
  • The authors used a platelet function analyser that timed platelets aggregating into a plug big enough to close a small hole in a membrane.
  • The only solution is surgery to close the hole and reinforce the spot.
make airtight, make watertight;
fill (up), pack, stuff;
clog (up), choke, obstruct, occlude;
North American  stopple
1.2 [with object] Bring two parts of (something) together so as to block its opening or bring it into a folded state: Loretta closed her mouth Rex closed the book
More example sentences
  • I clapped the two sides of my book together to close it, hiding the note within its pages.
  • She closed her lips together when swallowing and dabbed her mouth when necessary to clear any excessive spillage from her lips.
  • ‘I am,’ said Vilma, closing her diary and folding her arms.
1.3 [no object] (close around/over) Come into contact with (something) so as to encircle and hold it: my fist closed around the weapon
More example sentences
  • Seeing the look in my eye as I imagined my hands closing around his official collar and tie, he took a step backwards.
  • The nipple is visible again in the next shot as the baby's mouth closes around it.
  • As his hands closed around a body he realised it was a squab.
come together, join, connect, come into contact, unite, form a circle
1.4 [with object] Make (an electric circuit) continuous: this will cause a relay to operate and close the circuit
More example sentences
  • In this way, the capsule can open and close an electric circuit depending on the angle at which it is tipped.
  • When the charges connect, effectively closing a circuit, electric energy flows along that jagged path.
  • An electric circuit seemed to close, and a spark flashed forth.
2Bring or come to an end: [with object]: the members were thanked for attending and the meeting was closed [no object]: the concert closed with ‘Silent Night’ (as adjective closing) the closing stages of the election campaign
More example sentences
  • For these reasons, it was my decision to advise that the case against her be closed at the screening stage…
  • Light refreshments will be served, with the meeting closing at 8pm.
  • Refreshments were served by Beatrice and Betty Foster and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm.
end, bring/come to an end, conclude, finish, terminate, wind up, break off, halt, call a halt to, discontinue, dissolve;
2.1 [no object] Finish speaking or writing: we close with a point about truth (as adjective closing) Nellie’s closing words
More example sentences
  • In closing, a word of thanks for your tireless efforts in keeping us all informed of the latest UFO sightings.
  • I do not intend to take my full 10 minutes on this call, but I want to say a few words in closing as we members of the House speak in the third reading.
  • In closing, I speculate that writing such a book is an unenviable task; it just invites criticism.
2.2 [with object] Bring (a business transaction) to a satisfactory conclusion: right now we are trying to close the deal with our sponsors
More example sentences
  • I am satisfied that the vendor had satisfied its obligations and was ready to close the transaction.
  • If the deal had not been closed by this deadline, the BCC would have invited Erste Bank to negotiations.
  • Usually the tourists are attracted by the better rate and find out they have been tricked after the deal has been closed.
clinch, settle, secure, seal, set the seal on, confirm, guarantee, establish, transact, pull off, bring off/about;
complete, conclude, fix, agree, finalize, shake hands on
informal wrap up
3 [no object] (Of a business, organization, or institution) cease to be in operation or accessible to the public, either permanently or at the end of a working day or other period of time: the factory is to close with the loss of 150 jobs [with object]: a hoax call which closed the city’s stations for 4 hours
More example sentences
  • The pair are campaigning for the reopening of the small police station, which closed to the public several years ago.
  • International travel would be stopped, schools closed and large public gatherings banned.
  • Most nurseries closed to the public in the winter months.
cease activity, shut down, close down, cease production, cease operating, come to a halt, cease trading;
fail, collapse, go out of business, crash, go under, go bankrupt, become insolvent, go into receivership, go into liquidation, be liquidated, be wound up, be closed (down), be shut (down)
informal fold, flop, go broke, go bump, go to the wall, go bust
3.1 [with object] Remove all the funds from (a bank or building society account) and cease to use it: I went to the bank to close an account held by my daughter
More example sentences
  • Ask for new credit cards, and close any existing bank accounts and open new ones.
  • He has cut up the credit card and closed his bank accounts.
  • I have delayed closing his bank account - it just hurt too much.
3.2 [with object] Computing Make (a file) inaccessible after use, so that it is securely stored until required again: a statement is used to close a data file
More example sentences
  • Once students close the computer file containing the test, the results of the exam are locked in and can't be changed.
  • Once the last open descriptor to the file is closed, the file will no longer be accessible.
4 [no object] Gradually get nearer to someone or something: he tried to walk faster, but each time the man closed up on him again
More example sentences
  • At this point the battleship King George V was only 200 miles away and closing fast.
  • Ten minutes had gone and the Kilkenny boys had yet to threaten the Offaly goal, St Brendanís were closing and closing fast.
  • Fergal Lynch, who is closing fast on his maiden century of winners, takes the mount on Gaelic Princess, who is expected to have too much speed for her rivals.
catch up, creep up, near, approach, gain on someone, draw nearer/near, get nearer/near, come nearer/near, draw closer/close, get closer/close, come closer/close
narrow, lessen, grow/become/make smaller, dwindle, diminish, reduce, shrink, contract, constrict, get/become/make narrower
archaic straiten


[in singular]
1The end of an event or of a period of time or activity: the afternoon drew to a close the seminar was brought to a close with a discussion of future trends
More example sentences
  • The spirited crowd were said to be still dancing the night away when the ball drew to a close at 1 am.
  • The incident was brought to a close at midnight when the man came down from the roof.
  • The five-year project, which has disrupted many communities in Bradford, will draw to a close at the end of the year.
1.1 (the close) The end of a day’s trading on a stock market: by the close the Dow Jones average was down 13.52 points at 2,759.84
More example sentences
  • If big news breaks after the close of trading, a late trade can land a quick profit - or avoid a big loss.
  • Say a customer wanted to find out how many transactions it could run before the close of the stock market on a given day.
  • Shares fell around three per cent at the close of trading yesterday.
1.2 (the close) The end of a day’s play in a cricket match: at the close, Lancashire were 129 for 3
More example sentences
  • They had added an unbeaten 28 for the third wicket by the close.
  • No more wickets fell before the close and Jaques ended unbeaten on 67.
  • The declaration came with an hour of the fourth day remaining, and England grabbed the big wicket of Graeme Smith before the close.
1.3 Music The conclusion of a phrase; a cadence.
Example sentences
  • The orchestra takes its own stance leading the soloist towards an exciting close.
  • A double bar, usually with repeat marks, signifies the close of the first main section.
  • As Consequence Music flies by, it continues to resound as it fades away in the distance when Rotifer gently brings it to a perfect close.
2The shutting of something, especially a door: the door jerked to a close behind them
More example sentences
  • The door came to a close behind me.
  • The music faded as the door swung to a close behind me.
  • He extends his hand toward the metal door, bringing it slamming to a close.



close the door on (or to)

see door.

close one's eyes to

see eye.

close one's mind to

see mind.

close ranks

see rank1.

Phrasal verbs


close down (or close something down)

Cease or cause to cease business or operation, especially permanently: the government promised to close down the nuclear plants within twenty years
More example sentences
  • If you fail to follow the rules your business will be closed down permanently.
  • I am thinking very hard about closing my businesses down because of it.
  • Following the latest vandalism attack on Dungarvan's Day Care Centre, there are increasing fears that management may be forced to close it down permanently.
(close down) British 1.1 (Of a broadcasting station) end transmission until the next day: the BBC closed down for the rest of the day
More example sentences
  • Of the five terrestrial channels BBC 1 and ITV close down when it gets a bit late.
  • ITV cancelled their programmes for the rest of the evening and some regions actually closed down.
  • I remember watching the television continuously for the rest of the evening until it closed down for the night.

close in

Come nearer to someone being pursued: the police were closing in on them
More example sentences
  • With the rebels closing in on the sprawling capital, many feared a battle for control between them and the president's militant supporters.
  • The FBI is believed to be closing in on him and think he still lives in the US.
  • Hurricane Rita is tonight closing in on the Texas - Louisiana coast with 125-mile-an-hour winds.
2.1Gradually surround, especially with the effect of hindering movement or vision: the weather has now closed in so an attempt on the summit is unlikely
More example sentences
  • She couldn't keep her eyes open anymore, the darkness closing in around her vision.
  • For a long time he sat staring at him, night slowly closing in as his thoughts surrounded him.
  • Deeper in the cave, the walls close in, darkness enfolds us, and we switch on our headlamps.
2.2(Of days) get successively shorter with the approach of the winter solstice: November was closing in
More example sentences
  • The sports centre has re-opened it's doors for the new season and with the nights closing in and Winter almost upon us it's sure to be a virtual hive of activity until the Spring comes around.
  • It's sure to be a winner with the nights closing in hard for the Winter.
  • And presumably it's already pretty cold and winter is closing in?

close something out

North American Bring something to an end: Steve tried to close out the conversation
More example sentences
  • Four times, three in the second half, Kerry led by five points and playing with an appreciable wind should really have closed the game out.
  • I'm now reviewing all the open items on my to-do list at work and closing things out.
  • And the odd part is she never calls the police after this and in fact arranges to meet with him again the next day to sort of close this relationship out.

close up

(Of a person’s face) become blank and emotionless or hostile: he didn’t like her laughter and his face closed up angrily
More example sentences
  • His face closed up and he looked away from her, towards the forest.
  • She breaks off, her face closing up, her eyes darting away.
  • Peter turned away from him, his expression closing up.

close up

1 (also close something up) Stop using or operating a business or building: the solicitor advised me to close the house up for the time being
More example sentences
  • Two houses have been closed up for the winter already.
  • A newly paved road, financed by remittances, leads to a virtual ghost town where more than half the homes are closed up.
  • Heritage listing, however, does not imply that a place would be closed up and treated as a museum piece.
2 (close up) (Of an opening) grow smaller or become blocked by something: she felt her throat close up
More example sentences
  • His throat closed up, his eyes filled with tears, his face flushed with anger and sorrow mixed.
  • He felt his throat close up, his heart stop, gooseflesh creep up every inch of his skin.
  • I choked on my own tears, and my throat closed up.

close with

Come near, especially so as to engage with (an enemy force): their only hope was to close with the enemy
More example sentences
  • Ground forces have the ability to render a decisive outcome by closing with and destroying enemy forces.
  • But they have also been unsuccessful in closing with the enemy.
  • In 1665, as the English fleet closed with the enemy, two of his shipmates had premonitions of death.



Example sentences
  • The container is ‘durable, stable, closable, leak and puncture resistant, facilitates one-hand disposal, with guards that prevent hands from entering.’
  • The conical shape of the structure makes it stable in the high winds that often blow briskly across the Great Plains, and closable smoke flaps keep driving rains outside.
  • The Millennium Stadium avoids climatic crassness by being the first one in the UK to have a roof that can be completely closable over the pitch.


Middle English: from Old French clos-, stem of clore, from Latin claudere 'to shut'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: close

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