approach

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

PIE word
*h₂éd

From Middle English approchen, aprochen (to come or go near, approach; to adjoin, be close by; to enter (someone’s) presence; to be or become involved; to reach (a certain state); to arrive; to befall, happen to; to become similar to, resemble; to be a match for (someone)) [and other forms],[1] borrowed from Old French approchier, aprochier (to approach) (modern French approcher), from Late Latin appropiāre, adpropiāre, respectively the present active infinitives of appropiō and adpropiō (to approach, come near to), from Latin ad- (prefix meaning ‘to’) + propiō (to draw near) (from prope (near, nearby),[2] ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pro- (a variant of *per- (before, in front; first)) + *-kʷe (suffix forming distributives from interrogatives)).

Verb[edit]

approach (third-person singular simple present approaches, present participle approaching, simple past and past participle approached)

  1. (intransitive) To come or go near, in place or time; to advance nearer; to draw nigh.
  2. (intransitive, golf, tennis) To play an approach shot.
  3. (transitive, intransitive, figuratively) Used intransitively, followed by to: to draw near (to someone or something); to make advances; to approximate or become almost equal.
    He approaches to the character of the ablest statesman.
    • 1824 January, Tristram Merton [pseudonym; Thomas Babington Macaulay], “Criticisms on the Principal Italian Writers. No. I. Dante.”, in [Charles Knight], editor, Knight’s Quarterly Magazine, volume II, number I, London: [] [William Clowes] for Charles Knight, [], OCLC 614542612, page 215:
      The great source, as it appears to me, of the power of the Divine Comedy [by Dante Alighieri], is the strong belief with which the story seems to be told. In this respect, the only books which approach to its excellence are Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe.
    • 1839, Samuel Laing, chapter IX, in A Tour in Sweden in 1838; Comprising Observations on the Moral, Political, and Economical State of the Swedish Nation, London: [] [Andrew Spottiswoode] for Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, [], OCLC 27033245, page 371:
      Without these incentives to industry the Norwegian would be like the Laplander, without industry and civilisation; and the nearer he approaches to the beau idéal of those political economists—to the state of being without a taste for these foreign and expensive luxuries—the nearer he approaches to the condition of the Laplander in the comforts and enjoyments of life.
  4. (transitive, rarely intransitive) Of an immovable object or a number of such objects: to be positioned as to (notionally) appear to be moving towards (a place).
    As we drove along the driveway, the trees approaching the house seemed more eerie.
  5. (transitive, also figuratively) To come near to (someone or something) in place, time, character, or value; to draw nearer to.
    “Would counsel please approach the bench?” asked the judge.
    He approached the age of manhood.
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene iii], page 137, column 2:
      Approch the Chamber, and deſtroy your ſight / With a new Gorgon.
    • a. 1700, William Temple, “Some Thoughts upon Reviewing the Essay of Antient and Modern Learning”, in Miscellanea. The Third Part. [...], London: [] Jonathan Swift, [] Benjamin Tooke, [], published 1701, OCLC 23640974, page 223:
      He [Empedocles] was an admirable Poet, and thought even to have approached Homer, in a Poem he writ of Natural Philoſophy; [...]
    • 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, OCLC 838630407, pages 190–191:
      [] I ſtuck all the Ground without my Wall, for a great way every way, as full with Stakes or Sticks of the Osier-like Wood, which I found ſo apt to grow, as they could well ſtand; inſomuch, that I believe I might ſet in near twenty thouſand of them, leaving a pretty large Space between them and my Wall, that I might have room to ſee an Enemy, and they might have no ſhelter from the young Trees, if they attempted to approach my outer Wall.
    • 1831, John James Audubon, “The American Redstart. Muscicapa Ruticilla, Linn. []”, in Ornithological Biography, or An Account of the Habits of the Birds of the United States of America; [], Edinburgh: Adam Black, [], OCLC 546867936, page 234:
      When one approaches the nest of this species, the male exhibits the greatest anxiety respecting its safety, passes and repasses, fluttering and snapping its bill within a few feet, as if determined to repel the intruder.
    • 1838, Boz [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], “And Last”, in Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], OCLC 558204586, page 309:
      Mr. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his own son, and removing with him and the old housekeeper to within a mile of the parsonage house, where his dear friends resided, he gratified the only remaining wish of Oliver's warm and earnest heart, and thus linked together a little society, whose condition approached as nearly to one of perfect happiness as can ever be known in this changing world.
    • 1895–1897, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, “The Eve of the War”, in The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, published 1898, OCLC 699873, book I (The Coming of the Martians), page 3:
      The secular cooling that must some day overtake our planet has already gone far indeed with our neighbour [Mars]. Its physical condition is still largely a mystery, but we know now that even in its equatorial region the mid-day temperature barely approaches that of our coldest winter.
    • 1904, William Anthony Granville, “Theory of Limits”, in Percey F[ranklyn] Smith, editor, Elements of the Differential and Integral Calculus, Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Ginn & Company, OCLC 926065625, paragraph 29 (Limit of a Variable), page 19:
      If a variable takes on successively a series of values that approach nearer and nearer to a constant value in such a manner that [Footnote: To be read the numerical value of the difference between and ] becomes and remains less than any assigned arbitrarily small positive quantity, then is said to approach the limit , or to converge to the limit . Symbolically this is written / limit .
  6. (transitive) To bring (something) near something else; to cause (something) to draw near.
  7. (transitive) To attempt to make (a policy) or solve (a problem).
  8. (transitive) To bring up or propose to (someone) an idea, question, request, etc.
    • 1987, Dinesh Vaghela, “Publisher’s Note”, in Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti; Terry Newland, editor, Mind is a Myth: Disquieting Conversations with the Man Called U. G., Vallabhvidyanagar, Gujarat: Crest Associates, OCLC 18628399, page 7:
      "Why bother publishing my conversations. It has not helped you, and it is not going to help anybody else", said U. G. when I approached him with the idea of publishing excerpts from his conversations with the constant stream of people who go to visit him.
  9. (transitive, archaic, euphemistic) To have sexual intercourse with (someone).
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:copulate
  10. (transitive, military) To take approaches to (a place); to move towards (a place) by using covered roads, trenches, or other works.
Usage notes[edit]

Regarding the use of sense 5 (“to come near to (someone or something) in place, time, character, or value”) in discussing convergence in mathematical analysis, modern rigorous formulations avoid using the words approach and converge. However, the terms are used informally when rigour is not required.

Conjugation[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English approche (approach, arrival), from approchen, aprochen (to come or go near, approach; to adjoin, be close by; to enter (someone’s) presence; to be or become involved; to reach (a certain state); to arrive; to befall, happen to; to become similar to, resemble; to be a match for (someone)); see etymology 1.[3][4]

Noun[edit]

approach (plural approaches)

  1. (also figuratively) An act of drawing near in place or time; an advancing or coming near.
  2. An act of coming near in character or value; an approximation.
    • 1859 May 10, Richard Owen, “Appendix B. On the Orang, Chimpanzee, and Gorilla, with Reference to the ‘Transmutation of Species.’”, in On the Classification and Geographical Distribution of the Mammalia, [], London: John W[illiam] Parker and Son, [], OCLC 926205528, page 85:
      The canine, judging from the figures published by M. [Édouard] Lartet, seems to be less developed than in the male chimpanzees, gorillas and orang. In which character the fossil, if it belonged to a male, makes a nearer approach to the human type; but it is one which many of the inferior monkeys also exhibit, and is by no means to be trusted as significant of true affinity, supposing even the sex of the fossil to be known as being male.
  3. (also figuratively) An avenue, passage, or way by which a building or place can be approached; an access.
    • [1633], George Herbert, “Dulnesse”, in [Nicholas Ferrar], editor, The Temple: Sacred Poems, and Private Ejaculations, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel; and are to be sold by Francis Green, [], OCLC 1048966979; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, [], 1885, OCLC 54151361, page 108:
      Where are my lines then? my approaches? views? / Where are my window-ſongs?
    • 1791, Homer; W[illiam] Cowper, transl., “[The Odyssey.] Book VII.”, in The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Translated into Blank Verse, [], volume II, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], OCLC 779243096, lines 100–102 and 109–112, page 151:
      [H]e ſaw / As of the ſun or moon illuming clear / The palace of Phæacia's mighty King. [] Maſtiffs, in gold and ſilver, lined the approach / On either ſide, by art celeſtial framed / Of Vulcan, guardian of Alcinoüs gate / For ever, unobnoxious to decay.
    • 1900, A[lfred] T[hayer] Mahan, “The Opening Campaign in Natal to the Investment of Ladysmith (October 11–November 2)”, in The War in South Africa: A Narrative of the Anglo-Boer War from the Beginning of Hostilities to the Fall of Pretoria, New York, N.Y.: Peter Fenelon Collier & Son, OCLC 1610566, page 31, column 2:
      It was, therefore, natural to expect that the main attack would come from the north along the railroad, and from the east, where the approach from the Transvaal boundary, which is there marked by the Buffalo River, is over a country much more practicable than the western mountain range.
    1. (climbing) A path taken to reach the climbing area, for example, from a car park, road, etc.
  4. (figuratively) A manner of making (a policy) or solving (a problem, etc.).
    • 1980 May 2, “In the Matter of Amendment of Section 64.702 of the Commission’s Rules and Regulations (Second Computer Inquiry): Final Decision”, in Federal Communications Commission Reports: Decisions and Reports of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States (Docket no. 20828; FCC 80-189), volume 76 (2nd Series), Washington, D.C., published 1982, OCLC 908804239, section IV (Comments), paragraph 41, page 402:
      Our proposed definitional approach to the data processing-communications dilemma evoked considerable discussion. There is uniform disagreement and confusion as to the regulatory implications of the proposed definitional terms.
    • 1980 June 27, J[ames] Skelly Wright, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, “Lead Industries Association, Inc., Petitioner, v. Environmental Protection Agency, Respondent (No. 78-2201)”, in Federal Reporter [] (2nd Series), volume 647, number 1–3, St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co., published 1981, OCLC 891573999, page 1136:
      Its [the United States Environmental Protection Agency's] initial approach to controlling the amount of lead in the ambient air was to limit lead emissions from automobiles by restricting the amount of lead in gasoline.
    • 1989, Congressional Research Service, “Article I: Legislative Power: Separation of Powers Limitations”, in Johnny H. Killian and George A. Costello, editors, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation: 1988 Supplement: [] (100th Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Document; no. 100-43; United States Congressional Serial Set; no. 13854), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, OCLC 968505334, page 4:
      The functional approach [to separation of powers issues] emphasizes the core functions of each branch and asks whether the challenged action threatens the essential attributes of the legislative, executive, or judicial function or functions. Under this approach, there is considerable flexibility in the moving branch, usually Congress acting to make structural or institutional change, if there is little significant risk of impairment of a core function or in the case of such a risk if there is a compelling reason for the action.
  5. (archaic) An opportunity of drawing near; access.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, “Of Ambition. XXXVI.”, in The Essayes [], London: [] Iohn Haviland [], published 1632, OCLC 863527675, page 221:
      Honour hath three Things in it: The Vantage Ground to doe Good: The approach to Kings and principall Persons: And the Raiſing of a Mans owne Fortunes.
    • 1726, [Jonathan Swift], Cadenus and Vanessa. A Poem, London: [] J. Roberts [], OCLC 1170143441, page 21:
      The Learned met with free Approach, / Although they came not in a Coach.
    • 1727, [John] Gay, “Fable XVI. The Pin and the Needle.”, in Fables, 2nd edition, London: [] J[acob] Tonson and J. Watts, published 1728, OCLC 1204997009, page 1:
      Now, rais'd again from low approach, / She [a pin] viſits in the doctor's coach; / Here, there, by various fortune toſt, / At laſt in Greſham hall was loſt.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “The Doubloon”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299, page 479:
      Nor, though placed amongst a ruthless crew and every hour passed by ruthless hands, and through the livelong nights shrouded with thick darkness which might cover any pilfering approach, nevertheless every sunrise found the doubloon where the sunset left it last.
  6. (aviation, also attributively) The way an aircraft comes in to land at an airport.
    • 2001, “Aerodynamic Factors”, in Instrument Flying Handbook 2001 (FAA-H-8083-15), Washington, D.C.: Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, →ISBN, page 2-6, column 2:
      Most small airplanes maintain a speed well in excess of 1.3 times VSO on an instrument approach. An airplane with a stall speed of 50 knots (VSO) has a normal approach speed of 65 knots.
  7. (bowling) The area before the lane in which a bowler may stand or run up before bowling the ball.
  8. (golf, tennis) Short for approach shot.
Hyponyms[edit]

(aviation):

Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ap(p)rōchen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ approach, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “approach, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  3. ^ apprōche, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ approach, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2020; “approach, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Noun[edit]

approach m (plural approaches)

  1. approach (a manner in which a problem is solved or policy is made)
    Synonym: abordagem