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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English neyghebour, neighebor, neighbour, neihebur, from Old English nēahġebūr (neighbour), from Proto-Germanic *nēhwagabūrô (neighbour), equivalent to nigh +‎ bower. Cognate with Scots nichbour (neighbour), Saterland Frisian Noaber (neighbour), Dutch nabuur (neighbour), German Low German Navur (neighbour), German Nachbar (neighbour), Danish nabo (neighbour), Norwegian nabo (neighbour), Icelandic nábúi (neighbour), Finnish naapuri (neighbour), Estonian naaber (neighbour),. More at nigh, bower (farmer).



neighbour (plural neighbours) (British spelling)

  1. A person living on adjacent or nearby land; a person situated adjacently or nearby; anything (of the same type of thing as the subject) in an adjacent or nearby position.
    My neighbour has two noisy cats.
    They′re our neighbours across the street.
    • 1660, Hugh Peters, The Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, reprinted 1807, page 10,
      Being at his own house in the country, when a great tempest of wind rose, he takes an occasion to visit a neighbour by him, and being somewhat merily disposed, quoth he Oh neighbour, did you not see what a wind there was the other day?
    • 1913, Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country, published 2010, unnumbered page:
      Undine at length shrank back with an unrecognizing face; but her movement made her opera-glass slip to the floor, and her neighbour bent down and picked it up.
    • 1973, Ernest Buckler, Nova Scotia: Window on the Sea, page 126:
      Neighbours enact their substantive noun when there′s a neighbour′s sickness in the night; as friends do theirs, the cindered and the green times through.
    • 2009, D. Staufer, Classical Percolation, Asok K. Sen, Kamal K. Bardhan, Bikas K. Chakrabarti (editors), Quantum and Semi-Classical Percolation and Breakdown in Disordered Solids, Springer, Lecture Notes in Physics 762, page 4,
      Then a cluster is grown by letting each empty neighbour of an already occupied cluster site decide once and for all, whether it is occupied or empty. One needs to keep and to update a perimeter list of empty neighbours.
    • 2011, Richard Jensen, Chris Cornelis, "Fuzzy-Rough Nearest Neighbour Classification", James F. Peters, Andrzej Skowron (editors-in-chief), Transactions on Rough Sets XIII, Springer, Lecture Notes in Computing Science 6499, page 56,
      By contrast to the latter, our method uses the nearest neighbours to construct lower and upper approximations of decision classes, and classifies test instances based on their membership to these approximations.
  2. One who is near in sympathy or confidence.
  3. (biblical) A fellow human being.
    • 1982, Bible (NKJV), Leviticus 19:18,
      You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
  4. Anything located directly adjacent to something else.
    The flood fill algorithm fills an area with colour by starting at one pixel and recursively visiting its neighbours.



Derived terms[edit]



neighbour (third-person singular simple present neighbours, present participle neighbouring, simple past and past participle neighboured) (British spelling)

  1. (transitive) To be adjacent to
    Though France neighbours Germany, its culture is significantly different.
    • 1615, George Sandys, “The First Booke”, in The Relation of a Iourney Begun An: Dom: 1610. [], London: [] [Richard Field] for W. Barrett, →OCLC, page 12:
      Theſe grow at the South end of the Iland, and on the leiſurely aſcending hills that neighbour the ſhore.
    • [1864], “Dedicatory and Votive”, in Robert Guthrie MacGregor, transl., Greek Anthology, with Notes Critical and Explanatory, London: Nissen & Parker, [], →OCLC, page 252:
      [] who neighbourest the rock-born rill, / Thou Hermes!
    • [1913], William A[lfred] Quayle, “Thy Rainbow Is on the Cloud”, in The Climb to God: Being a Collection of Pulpit and Private Prayers Which Are Meant to Gird the Spiritual Life, New York, N.Y., Cincinnati, Ohio: The Methodist Book Concern, page 157:
      OUR GOD, we bless Thee that Thy rainbow is on the cloud. [] Such things are too high. We can not attain unto them. But no matter. We catch the many lights the rainbow wears. Thou neighborest with our cloud.
  2. (intransitive, followed by "on"; figurative) To be similar to, to be almost the same as.
    That sort of talk is neighbouring on treason.
  3. To associate intimately with; to be close to.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The verb meaning "to be adjacent to" is most frequently encountered in its participle form: neighbouring.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of neyghebour