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close quarters

[klohs] /kloʊs/
a small, cramped place or position.
direct and close contact in a fight:
They met at close quarters, exchanging many quick jabs.
Origin of close quarters
1745-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for close quarters
  • Space, when done with people living together in close quarters, stinks.
  • The vehicles operate in close quarters and tight travel ways, where space is limited.
  • And when he confronted the killer, it was often at great personal risk in terrifyingly close quarters.
  • Usually kept in close quarters, chicken flocks are prone to rapid spread of viruses.
  • The critters-a profusion of different varieties and sizes from tiny turtle to giant carp-must make do with close quarters.
  • If the barnacle's goal is to fertilize as many eggs as possible, live in close quarters at areas protected from wave exposure.
  • Working in close quarters is a standard part of start-up culture.
  • Being always at close quarters with his readers, a journalist must shorten and sharpen his sentences, or he is doomed.
  • Working there they learned the art of cutting one another down to size, of squabbling and surviving in close quarters.
  • The dozen strangers who had come to know one another so well in these close quarters were momentarily quiet.
British Dictionary definitions for close quarters

close quarters

plural noun
a narrow cramped space or position
at close quarters
  1. engaged in hand-to-hand combat
  2. in close proximity; very near together
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for close quarters

1753, originally nautical, also close-fights, "bulkheads fore and aft for men to stand behind in close engagements to fire on the enemy," it reflects the confusion of close (v.) and close (adj.); "now understood of proximity, but orig. 'closed' space on ship-board where last stand could be made against boarders" [Weekley]. Cf. also closed-minded, a variant of close-minded attested from 1880s, with a sense of "shut" rather than "tight."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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