nigh Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective not far distant in time or space or degree or circumstances
    close; near.
    • near neighbors
    • in the near future
    • they are near equals
    • his nearest approach to success
    • a very near thing
    • a near hit by the bomb
    • she was near tears
    • she was close to tears
    • had a close call
  2. adjective satellite being on the left side
    • the near or nigh horse is the one on the left
    • the animal's left side is its near or nigh side
  3. adverb near in time or place or relationship
    close; near.
    • as the wedding day drew near
    • stood near the door
    • don't shoot until they come near
    • getting near to the true explanation
    • her mother is always near
    • The end draws nigh
    • the bullet didn't come close
    • don't get too close to the fire
  4. adverb (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but
    about; almost; most; near; nearly; well-nigh; virtually.
    • the job is (just) about done
    • the baby was almost asleep when the alarm sounded
    • we're almost finished
    • the car all but ran her down
    • he nearly fainted
    • talked for nigh onto 2 hours
    • the recording is well-nigh perfect
    • virtually all the parties signed the contract
    • I was near exhausted by the run
    • most everyone agrees


Nigh adjective
OE. nigh, neigh, neih, AS. neáh, nh; akin to D. na, adv., OS. nah, a., OHG. nah, G. nah, a., nach to, after, Icel. na (in comp.) nigh, Goth. nhw, nhwa, adv., nigh. Cf. Near, Neighbor, Next.
comparative Nigher ; superlative Nighest, or Next
  1. Not distant or remote in place or time; near.
    The loud tumult shows the battle nigh. Prior.
  2. Not remote in degree, kindred, circumstances, etc.; closely allied; intimate. "Nigh kinsmen." Knolles.
    Ye ... are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Eph. ii. 13.
    Syn. -- Near; close; adjacent; contiguous; present; neighboring.
Nigh adverb
AS. neáh, nh. See Nigh, a.
  1. In a situation near in place or time, or in the course of events; near.
    He was sick, nigh unto death. Phil. ii. 27.
    He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright, Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned. Milton.
  2. Almost; nearly; as, he was nigh dead.
Nigh transitive verb & intransitive verb
  1. To draw nigh (to); to approach; to come near. Obs. Wyclif (Matt. iii. 2).
Nigh preposition
  1. Near to; not remote or distant from. "was not this nigh shore?" Shak.

Webster 1913