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[nahy] /naɪ/
near in space, time, or relation:
The time draws nigh.
nearly; almost; (often followed by on or onto):
nigh onto twenty years.
adjective, nigher, nighest.
near; approaching:
Evening is nigh.
short or direct:
to take the nighest route.
(of an animal or vehicle) being on the left side:
to be astride the nigh horse.
Archaic. parsimonious; stingy.
verb (used without object), verb (used with object)
Archaic. to approach.
Origin of nigh
before 900; Middle English nigh(e), neye, Old English nēah, nēh, cognate with Dutch na, German nahe, Old Norse nā-, Gothic nehw, nehwa; cf. near, next
Related forms
unnigh, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for nigh
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There comes a crash like unto that the end of the world is nigh!

    The Motor Boys in Mexico Clarence Young
  • The major, on his way to Corney, told the father that the end was nigh.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • No, it's nigh onto a mile, I didn't measure it, but it's a mighty big three-quarters.

    The Graysons Edward Eggleston
  • He was soon so nigh, that there could be no possible mistake about the matter.

    Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Hast thou lived to nigh forty years, to be hurt like a boy by a woman's inconstancy?

    Sir Christopher Maud Wilder Goodwin
British Dictionary definitions for nigh


adjective, adverb, preposition
an archaic, poetic, or dialect word for near
Word Origin
Old English nēah, nēh; related to German nah, Old Frisian nei. Compare near, next
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 nigh

"near," Old English neah (West Saxon), neh (Anglian), common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon nah, Old Frisian nei, Middle Dutch, Dutch na, Old High German nah, German nah, Gothic nehwa), with no cognates outside Germanic. The Old English progression was neah - near - niehsta, for "nigh - near - next." But the comparative near and the superlative nehst (see next) gradually evolved into separate words not felt as related to nigh. New comparative and superlative forms nigher, nighest developed 14c. as phonetic changes obscured the original relationships. As an adjective from Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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