1. near in space, time, or relation: The time draws nigh.
  2. nearly; almost; (often followed by on or onto): nigh onto twenty years.

adjective, nigh·er, nigh·est.

  1. near; approaching: Evening is nigh.
  2. short or direct: to take the nighest route.
  3. (of an animal or vehicle) being on the left side: to be astride the nigh horse.
  4. Archaic. parsimonious; stingy.


  1. near.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. Archaic. to approach.

adjective, adverb, preposition

  1. an archaic, poetic, or dialect word for near

“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.

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