Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “nearly”


adverb     /ˈnɪə.li/ US  /ˈnɪr-/
A2 almost, or not completely: It's been nearly three months since my last haircut. I've nearly finished that book you lent me. She's nearly as tall as her father now. They'd eaten nearly everything. It was so funny - we nearly died laughing.AlmostMerely and barely not nearly as/so C1 a lot less: She's not nearly as beautiful as you said she was. My cold isn't nearly so bad as it was.Yes, no and not not nearly enough much less than you want or need: There's not nearly enough food for all these people!Scarce, inadequate and not enoughLacking things Grammar:Almost or nearly?We use almost and nearly to refer to the progress of things, especially if we are measuring and counting things. In these examples, almost and nearly can both be used:See more
(Definition of nearly adverb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of nearly

Definitions of “nearly” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


willing to give money, help, kindness, etc., especially more than is usual or expected

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More