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propinqu(ent) +‎ -ity, from Middle English propinquite, from Middle French propinquité or Latin propinquitās, from propinquus (neighbouring) (from prop(e) (near) +‎ (h)inc (hence) +‎ -uus).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɹəˈpɪŋ.kwɪ.ti/
  • (file)


propinquity (countable and uncountable, plural propinquities) (literary)

  1. Nearness or proximity
    Synonym: (obsolete) appropinquity
    • 1904, Edith Wharton, The Other Two:
      Some experimental spirits could not resist the diversion of throwing Varick and his former wife together, and there were those who thought he found a zest in the propinquity.
    • 1963, Melvin M. Webber, “Order in Diversity: Community without Propinquity”, in Lowdon Wingo Jr., editor, Cities and Space: The Future Use of Urban Land, page 43:
      Yet, never before in human history has it been so easy to communicate across long distances. Never before have men been able to maintain intimate and continuing contact with others across thousands of miles; never has intimacy been so independent of spatial propinquity.
    • 1973, Kyril Bonfiglioli, Don't Point That Thing at Me, Penguin, published 2001, page 70:
      Surely, too, it would be a waste of an agent, for after several hours of propinquity I could scarcely fail to recognise him in the future.
    • 1985, Anthony Burgess, The Kingdom of the Wicked:
      There was also the question of Julius’s glandular responses to the almost daily propinquity of his Empress, so naked under her lawn.
    • 1993, Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?”, in Foreign Affairs[1]:
      Geographical propinquity gives rise to conflicting territorial claims from Bosnia to Mindanao.
    • 2021 January 28, Sam Knight, “Adam Curtis Explains It All”, in The New Yorker[2]:
      A seventy-second section of the film, spelling out the concept of time and propinquity, involves archival footage of (and this is an incomplete list) American cars going through an underpass; flaring streetlights; two men in loud suits, their faces out of the frame, smoking cigars and drinking whisky while sitting on garden furniture on the balcony of a high rise; []
  2. Affiliation or similarity.
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i], page 284, lines 112–115:
      Heere I diſclaime all my Paternall care, / Propinquity and property of blood, / And as a ſtranger to my heart and me, / Hold thee from this for euer.
    • 1970, Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, Routledge, translation of Les mots et les choses, published 2002, page xviii:
      What is impossible is not the propinquity of the things listed, but the very site on which their propinquity would be possible.
    • 1979, Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85, 86 (1979):
      [A] person's mere propinquity to others independently suspected of criminal activity does not, without more, give rise to probable cause to search that person.
    • 1997, Don DeLillo, Underworld:
      Decent people out there. Russ wants to believe they are still assembled in some recognizable manner, the kindred unit at the radio, old lines and ties and propinquities.
    • 2012, Andrew Marr (heard at the Leveson inquiry.)
      Propinquity and corruption don't always go side by side.

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