Meaning of “nearly” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"nearly" in British English

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nearlyadverb

uk /ˈnɪə.li/ us /ˈnɪr.li/

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.
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.
not nearly enough

much less than you want or need:

There's not nearly enough food for all these people!

More examples

  • The under-18s constitute nearly 25% of the town's population.
  • Customs officers have seized nearly a ton of heroin destined for New York.
  • I'm nearly ready - just give me a couple of minutes.
  • It was such a hassle trying to get my bank account changed that I nearly gave up.
  • They were finally reconciled with each other, after not speaking for nearly five years.

(Definition of “nearly” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"nearly" in American English

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nearlyadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈnɪər·li/

almost but not quite; close to:

I’ve nearly finished that book you lent me.
She’s nearly as tall as her father now.
The problem isn’t nearly as bad as you think.

(Definition of “nearly” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)