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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ If the system makes too early a commitment on segmentation, recovery will be well nigh impossible.
▪ And everybody knew it was mighty nigh impossible to quit them.
▪ But knowing is not doing, and many people find it well nigh impossible to kick the habit.
▪ Undermanning can make the task nigh impossible on some estates; on the others the approach is far too casual.
▪ The lieutenant was right: it would be nigh impossible to make everyone account for their movements.
▪ The end of the world is nigh!
▪ Gone are the days of spending frantically because the end of the financial year was nigh.
▪ Today the man carrying the placard warning that the end is nigh may well be wearing a white laboratory coat.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Nigh \Nigh\ (n[imac]), a. [Compar. Nigher (n[imac]"[~e]r); superl. Nighest, or Next (n[e^]kst).] [OE. nigh, neigh, neih, AS. ne['a]h, n[=e]h; akin to D. na, adv., OS. n[=a]h, a., OHG. n[=a]h, G. nah, a., nach to, after, Icel. n[=a] (in comp.) nigh, Goth. n[=e]hw, n[=e]hwa, adv., nigh. Cf. Near, Neighbor, Next.]

  1. Not distant or remote in place or time; near.

    The loud tumult shows the battle nigh.

  2. Not remote in degree, kindred, circumstances, etc.; closely allied; intimate. ``Nigh kinsmen.''

    Ye . . . are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
    --Eph. ii. 1

  3. Syn: Near; close; adjacent; contiguous; present; neighboring.


Nigh \Nigh\, adv. [AS. ne['a]h, n[=e]h. 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.

  2. Almost; nearly; as, he was nigh dead.


Nigh \Nigh\, v. t. & i. To draw nigh (to); to approach; to come near. [Obs.]
--Wyclif (Matt. iii. 2).


Nigh \Nigh\, prep. Near to; not remote or distant from. ``was not this nigh shore?''

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"near," Old English neah (West Saxon), neh (Anglian), common Germanic (cognates: 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.

  1. 1 (context archaic poetic English) near, close by 2 Not remote in degree, kindred, circumstances, etc.; closely allied; intimate. adv. almost, nearly. prep. near; close to v

  2. To draw nigh (to); to approach; to come near.

  1. adv. near in time or place or relationship; "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" [syn: near, close]

  2. (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; `near' is sometimes used informally for `nearly' and `most' is sometimes used informally for `almost'; "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" [syn: about, just about, almost, most, all but, nearly, near, virtually, well-nigh]

  1. adj. 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" [syn: near(a), nigh(a)]

  2. near in space or time



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

Nigh is a surname, and may refer to:

  • George Nigh, Governor of Oklahoma
  • Jane Nigh, American actress
  • William Nigh, American film director, writer, and actor

Usage examples of "nigh".

Since Bull Shockhead would bury his brother, and lord Ralph would seek the damsel, and whereas there is water anigh, and the sun is well nigh set, let us pitch our tents and abide here till morning, and let night bring counsel unto some of us.

I will now go and skin that troll who went so nigh to slay thee, and break up the carcase, if thou wilt promise to abide about the door of the house, and have thy sword and the spear ready to hand, and to don thine helm and hauberk to boot.

For I spake with thee, it is nigh two years agone, when thou wert abiding the coming of our Lady in the castle yonder But now I see of thee that thou art brighter-faced, and mightier of aspect than aforetime, and it is in my mind that the Lady of Abundance must have loved thee and holpen thee, and blessed thee with some great blessing.

Bane, but a man well nigh as old as his uncle, though he hath not made men tremble so sore, albeit he be far the better man, a good warrior, a wise leader, a reiver and lifter well wrought at all points.

Aye, and Alienor could certainly benefit from a match with a man nigh as stubborn as herself.

I thought over the night of sorrow, the dangers I had escaped, the abode where I had been fast bound the day before, all the chances which had been in my favour, and the liberty of which I now began to taste the sweets, I was so moved in my heart and grateful to my God that, well nigh choked with emotion, I burst into tears.

That very evening I began my visits, and judged from my welcome that my triumph was nigh at hand.

And to the intent you may beleeve me I will shew you an example : wee were come nothing nigh to Thebes, where is the fountain of our art and science, but we learned where a rich Chuffe called Chriseros did dwell, who for fear of offices in the publique wel dissembled his estate, and lived sole and solitary in a small coat, howbeit replenished with aboundance of treasure, and went daily in ragged and torn apparel.

I went looking for another place, and I wound up on Bight nigh twenty years ago.

Ralph heeded him little, but ever looked through the hall-dusk on those twain, who presently arose and went toward the hall door, but when they were but half-way across the floor a chamberlain came in suddenly, bearing candles in his hands, and the light fell on those guests and flashed back from a salade on the head of the big man, and Ralph saw that he was clad in a long white gaberdine, and he deemed that he was the very man whom he had seen last in the Great Place at Higham, nigh the church, and before that upon the road.

I spake of nigher than I deemed when we came into the Burg this morning.

Greenwood and the Great River, nigh to Loeg Ningloron, the Gladden Fields, for he was heedless and set no guard, deeming that all his foes were overthrown.

Then Psyches moved with delectation approched nigh and taking a bold heart entred into the house, and beheld every thing there with great affection, she saw storehouses wrought exceedingly fine, and replenished with aboundance of riches.

A few years ago this same plan was adopted by the Bay whalemen of New Zealand, who, upon descrying the game, gave notice to the ready-manned boats nigh the beach.

Mayhap he thought I had been nigh on to throwing a fit, like some fishwife in Dover, and was gratified at my restraint.