Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: clos, from Latin clausus, past participle of claudere; CLOSE1


2 adjective
close2 S1 W1 comparative closer, superlative closest


not far from someone or something [= near]:
If you need to buy bread or milk, the closest shop is about a mile away.
close to
Susan sat on a chair close to the window.
I don't mind where we go on vacation as long as it's close to a beach.
His eyes were small and close together.
There are several accounts of dolphins living in close proximity to humans (=close to humans).
The victim had been shot at close range (=from very close).

near in time

near to something in time
close to
It was close to one-fifteen a.m.
close together
Our birthdays are quite close together.

likely to happen

seeming very likely to happen or very likely to do something soon
close to doing something
The two countries are close to signing a peace agreement.
We're close to clinching the deal.
close to death/tears/despair etc
The old dog could barely whimper and seemed close to death.
The prosecution's main witness was close to tears as she described the assault.


if two people are close, they like or love each other very much:
My brother and I are very close.
close to
I felt closer to Rob that evening than ever before.
Fiona and I have always been close friends.


very similar to each other
close to
When I saw Henry with another woman I felt something close to jealousy.
Fitt was the closest thing to a socialist in the party.
Their newest model bears a close resemblance to (=is very similar to) that of their rival competitor.


[usually before noun] looking at, thinking about, or watching something very carefully [↪ closely]
She lifted up Jenny's silver medallion to take a closer look.
keep a close watch/eye on (=watch someone or something very carefully)
Don't worry, I'll keep a close eye on the kids.
You could have improved your answers by closer attention to detail.


if a number or amount is close to another number or amount, it is not much higher or lower than it:
We don't know the exact figures, but about 10,000 might be a close approximation (=close to the actual figure).
close to
Inflation is close to 7 percent.

competition/election etc

finishing or being played, fought etc with both sides almost equal:
It was a close game that could have gone either way.
a close second/third etc (=a finishing position in a competition that is very nearly second, third etc)
The result is too close to call (=so close that it is impossible to know who will win).

close relation/relative

a member of your family such as your brother, sister, parent etc [≠ distant]:
The wedding was attended by close family only.

very nearly bad

used when you have only just managed to avoid something bad, dangerous, or embarrassing happening:
'Phew, that was close,' Frank said as he swerved to avoid the cyclist.
a close call/thing/shave (=a situation in which something dangerous, embarrassing etc almost happens)
United had a close shave when Liverpool almost scored.


very nearly getting, finding, or achieving something
close to
At this point, the investigators were closer to the truth than they realized.

keep in close contact/touch

if two people keep in close contact, they see, talk to, or write to each other often:
Text messaging enables people to keep in close contact at all times.

work/talk together

relating to a situation in which people work well with each other or talk to each other often:
He retained very close links with France throughout his life.
What we need now is closer cooperation between the club and supporters.

with little space

with little or no space around something or between things:
The horses are always eager for exercise after the close confinement of the stables.
The shoe is a close fit (=there is no space around the foot).
I find it difficult to read such close print (=with letters printed so close together).

close/you're close/that's close

spoken used to tell someone that they have almost guessed or answered something correctly:
'I reckon he must be about thirty-eight.' 'Close - he was forty last week.'

close to the bone

if something someone says is close to the bone, it makes you feel uncomfortable or offends you, especially because it is about something you do not want to admit is true

close, but no cigar

spoken used when something someone does or says is almost correct or successful:
It was close, but no cigar for the Dodgers as they lost to the Reds 4-3.

too close for comfort

if something that happens is too close for comfort, it is near enough to make you feel nervous or afraid:
From somewhere too close for comfort came the sound of machine-gun fire.

close to home

a) if a remark or criticism is close to home, it makes you feel uncomfortable because it is likely to be true:
His comments struck unpleasantly close to home.
b) if something unpleasant happens close to home, you are directly affected by it:
It's one thing seeing riots on TV, but when they happen so close to home it's a different matter.

at close quarters

if something happens or is done at close quarters, it happens inside a small space or is done from a short distance away:
The troops had been fighting at close quarters.


British English uncomfortably warm because there seems to be no air:
The weather that night was hot and close, with a hint of thunder in the distance.

unwilling to talk about something

[not before noun] unwilling to tell people about something [= secretive]
close about
You're very close about your work, aren't you?

unwilling to spend money

[not before noun] not generous
close with
You won't get a penny out of Jack - he's very close with his money.

a close shave

DCB when the hair on someone's face is cut very close to the skin

close work

work that involves looking at or handling things in a very skilful, detailed, and careful way:
After years of close work, she could hardly see a thing if it was over a yard away.

close vowel

SL technical a close vowel is pronounced with only a small space between the tongue and the top of the mouth
closeness noun [uncountable]
She had never had the physical or emotional closeness that she needed.

➔ play your cards close to your chest

at card1 (14)

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