Main definitions of close in English

: close1close2



  • 1Only a short distance away or apart in space or time.

    ‘the hotel is close to the sea’
    ‘her birthday and mine were close together’
    ‘why don't we go straight to the shops, as we're so close?’
    • ‘In the small, tight world of the judo competitor your opponent is very close, at arms length or less.’
    • ‘I was pretty close, though I still couldn't see the skyline of New York.’
    • ‘Sometimes two different logging roads are close enough to be within radio range.’
    • ‘Indeed the Fairgreen Shopping Centre, Carlow Retail Park and the town centre are very close.’
    • ‘If you don't like the weather this winter, a change is as close as your nearest airport.’
    • ‘If you decide not to allow smoking in the reception area, how close is the nearest place for a smoker to go?’
    • ‘The Sentinel banked and turned to line up with their relatively close destination.’
    • ‘A few people, almost invariably working in close proximity to birds, have been infected and become seriously ill.’
    • ‘As he sits down in the family's small room, explosions can be heard from a close neighbourhood.’
    • ‘When moving home last summer we made sure our new house was close to a good primary school.’
    • ‘Our guide kept moving at the same pace, and didn't turn back to face us, or give us any sign that our destination was close at hand.’
    • ‘Louisa takes off and does the same, with Grace following in close pursuit.’
    • ‘Tessa cooks the evening meal, but the nearest town is close if clients wish to eat out occasionally.’
    • ‘Her warm body was so close, his hands around that slim waist were gently squeezing and caressing her.’
    • ‘A car park facility in close proximity to it would be a considerable advantage to the many people who visit it on a regular basis.’
    • ‘When the officer was close enough he reached out and grabbed Danny's ankles tight, pulling him forward.’
    • ‘I could hardly tell exactly what it was, but it was very close and was a highly concentrated light.’
    • ‘Even those working in towns are usually close enough to go home for lunch, as do farmers.’
    • ‘A move to the village would give the Duchess her independence while allowing her daughters to be in close proximity to their father.’
    • ‘It is much smoother and more intimate than the ballroom tango, with the couple's upper bodies close together and lower bodies apart.’
    near, adjacent, in close proximity, close at hand, near at hand
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1With very little or no space in between; dense.
      ‘cloth with a close weave’
      ‘this work occupies over 1,300 pages of close print’
      • ‘It was slow work, for the trees were close, and in places dense with the bare vines and stalks of undergrowth.’
      • ‘If the agreement is in writing it may be in very close print on the back of a delivery docket or ticket.’
      • ‘He pulled out a sheet of thin blue paper covered in close type.’
      dense, compact, tight, close-packed, tightly packed, packed, solid, condensed, compressed, concentrated
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Narrowly enclosed.
      ‘animals in close confinement’
      • ‘In this narrow and close environment it became inevitable that Brenda and Henry should clash.’
      • ‘The tiny but sturdy craft was tossed precariously by the rip tides created in the close waterway.’
      • ‘Sows in close confinement on concrete have a higher incidence of injuries to feet.’
    3. 1.3Very near to (being or doing something)
      ‘on a good day the climate in LA is close to perfection’
      ‘she was close to tears’
      • ‘The tragedy of the situation is how close the company has come to being a financially sound airline.’
      • ‘‘I wouldn't say the club came close to closing over the last seven years, but we have had some very trying moments, particularly last season,’ he states.’
      • ‘He might well go close to emulating his feat on the course last week when he won four races on the card.’
      • ‘The attempt nearly succeeded as he was close to being able to get his head through the hole.’
      • ‘There were several occasions when they acted so stupidly, I came close to shouting at the screen in frustration.’
      • ‘He said the situation had got so bad that many drivers were close to breaking point.’
      • ‘I had a low point towards the end of last season and that is why I was close to leaving the club, but now I am at my best ever level.’
      • ‘Specialist poultry breeders are close to ruin because of the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease.’
      • ‘He was close to tears in breaking the news to me over the telephone.’
      on the verge of, near, on the brink of, on the point of, within an ace of, in danger of
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4(with reference to a competitive situation) involving only a small margin between winner and loser.
      ‘the race will be a close contest’
      ‘she finished a close second’
      • ‘A meeting between these two sides are always very close and tight and this clash will be no different.’
      • ‘If the large crowd thought that the first half was a close contest the second half was to be an even closer affair.’
      • ‘It's going to be a close contest.’
      • ‘The 1973 legislative elections were very close, and the vote of the right was squeezed by the left as its realignment paid off.’
      • ‘It was a close competition as there was so much artistic talent on display on the day.’
      • ‘The tight 1.5 mile circuit promises close racing action for all four classes of cars.’
      • ‘This left the overall result very close, but the winner was Steve Mascari with a total of 31 pts.’
      • ‘I remember once backing a horse called Tied Cottage for the Irish National, which came second in a very close race.’
      • ‘While Stevens built up a comfortable lead by the end of the race, behind him the competition for podium places was exceptionally close.’
      • ‘After a close fight, the crowd becomes frustrated to hear the official verdict.’
      • ‘It will be a different kind of challenge from previous races, with really close racing in a big pack of cars.’
      • ‘While she was pleased with the result she was also relieved at having come through after such a close contest.’
      • ‘This was close fight and would have been even tighter without the points deducted.’
      • ‘In the county juvenile championships there was plenty of excitement and some very close contests.’
      • ‘The South Yorkshire club has won the League Championship more than any other side in recent years so a close contest can be expected.’
      • ‘This was a very close contest all through with never more than a point or two between the teams at any time.’
      • ‘This was a very close and exciting game with a large number of supporters crowding the field to cheer on their teams.’
      • ‘It was a close contest, without doubt, and both men deserve credit for a decent heavyweight championship bout.’
      • ‘But I am conscious of the fact that we lost all three matches by very narrow margins and winning the close matches becomes a habit.’
      • ‘In a fixture which has historically been a close contest, the Blues scored ten tries as their backs tore Loughborough apart.’
      • ‘The layout of the track lends itself to tight, close racing which is always good for the fans.’
      • ‘I hope the matches this week are close, competitive and courteous.’
      evenly matched, even, well matched
      View synonyms
  • 2[attributive] Denoting a family member who is part of a person's immediate family, typically a parent or sibling.

    ‘the family history of cancer in close relatives’
    • ‘Only she and her close family knew what she had been through to get back to the very top.’
    • ‘I have been through this and seen close family members go through it.’
    • ‘Her close family were given a dose of antibiotics as a precaution, but most cases of the disease occur in isolation.’
    • ‘They generally aspire only to the sorts of jobs done by their parents and close relatives.’
    • ‘I could only imagine how it would feel to have a close member of your family talked about in that way.’
    • ‘Apparently Colin wants his close family to be involved in the birth and upbringing of his child.’
    • ‘The marriage itself was in a Catholic Church, thousands of miles from home, with none of her close family in attendance.’
    • ‘He told only close family that he had chest trouble and used an inhaler.’
    • ‘Lizzie Murphy spoke to two Yorkshire families which lost close relatives in the tsunami disaster’
    • ‘Saying a final farewell to the Princess, who died last Saturday aged 71, were her close family as well as many friends.’
    • ‘Now children who have lost a parent or a close family member are being offered the chance to meet up with others who understand their suffering.’
    • ‘Jeanne, who had no children or surviving close family, was profoundly deaf and also had learning difficulties.’
    • ‘Some of you may get a windfall: property or a vehicle from parents or close relatives.’
    • ‘My math teacher lost her entire close family, and was very seriously injured.’
    • ‘None of the close family has accepted offers of counselling.’
    • ‘He wanted to come down to Kent to be nearer his close family and it was a shock when he died so soon afterwards.’
    • ‘On one of our chats he told me that he did not want to have another stroke as he had no children or close family.’
    • ‘I can't help thinking about all those mothers and fathers and children who lost close family.’
    • ‘Orphaned at 13 but not left homeless, he was supported by close family.’
    • ‘People who have cars and trucks gather basic things and flee with their family members and close relatives.’
    immediate, direct, near
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1On very affectionate or intimate terms.
      ‘they had always been very close, with no secrets at all’
      • ‘We're nowhere near as close as we used to be, but I enjoy talking to her all the same.’
      • ‘From 1754 he took up farming but maintained his scientific interests, being on close terms with Joseph Black.’
      • ‘At the age of 16 a close friend of mine died from drug abuse over a prolonged period.’
      • ‘From a professional friendship, their relationship has evolved into a close intimate friendship.’
      • ‘I enjoyed living in the country and valued the close friends I made there.’
      • ‘You know, I always joked I had a million acquaintances and only a couple of close friends.’
      • ‘We're very good friends and very close but he doesn't spare me either.’
      • ‘I'm close to all my children, but Rupert and I were especially close.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, close friends of his called during the interview to congratulate him on the promotion.’
      • ‘He and his sister were close and her death affected him so strongly that friends initially feared for his own mental health.’
      • ‘John Morgan, a close friend, said he was shocked by the news but admitted that Charles's health had deteriorated recently.’
      • ‘You tried to make friends with one of my close and dear friends, who also, as you knew, loved me.’
      • ‘My close friend and confidante was my cousin Kitty, the closest to me in age and the only other girl.’
      • ‘Little by little however, she seemed to get comfortable with the fact that I wanted to be close and intimate with her.’
      • ‘I have only told one of my close friends about what happened.’
      • ‘I was hardly aware of opening my locker and being surrounded by my pack of close confidants.’
      • ‘Sanjay himself is not a great party-goer; he prefers small gatherings with a few close friends.’
      • ‘The two of them had been close since childhood, and he had had a lifelong crush on her.’
      intimate, dear, bosom
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2(of a connection or resemblance) strong.
      ‘the college has close links with many other institutions’
      • ‘They were stunned at the close resemblance and did not seem convinced by my denial.’
      • ‘The resemblance is so close, that we suppose the latter has been derived from the former.’
      • ‘They also found a close link between the price of beer and other alcoholic beverages, so all drinkers were losing out in the most expensive areas.’
      • ‘I must stress that I have no close connection with the Choral Union.’
      • ‘Foreign firms are also strongly advised to establish close links with their host government and local community.’
      • ‘My own reputation suffered from his actions, for our close resemblance caused me to be credited with many of them.’
      • ‘We have very close connections to the community in a way sometimes federal law enforcement does not.’
      • ‘Both moved to the United States many years ago but still maintain close connections with home.’
      • ‘The physiological connection is close enough that surgeons have attempted heart and liver transplants from baboon to human.’
      • ‘There are places on Earth today that may bear a close resemblance to the Antarctic landform back then.’
      • ‘Since the prints are made directly from his fine art prints, they offer a very close match.’
      • ‘His father helped build the towers and he felt a close connection to them.’
      • ‘As the creation of the welfare state was high on the agenda of all parties, manifestos bore close resemblance on this point.’
      • ‘The small population has close links with Brazil across the border.’
      • ‘We also need to recognise the close connection between poverty and crime.’
      • ‘The competition was dreamed up by staff at the Lowry in response to claims by many visitors that dogs in the pictures bear a close resemblance to their own.’
      • ‘One of them, which she calls baked French toast, bears a close resemblance to a shallow bread and butter pudding.’
      • ‘The voice of a mother, unleashed in all its power, bears a close resemblance to thunder.’
      • ‘He built up a strong party organization with close links to the trade unions.’
      • ‘They maintain close connections with many of these firms, particularly the top defence companies.’
      strong, marked, distinct, pronounced
      View synonyms
  • 3(of observation, examination, etc.) done in a careful and thorough way.

    ‘pay close attention to what your body is telling you about yourself’
    • ‘Again, Leonardo used his method of close observation to study how machines work.’
    • ‘But his performance in months ahead will come under close scrutiny.’
    • ‘What it means is this deserves very careful attention, a very close investigation.’
    • ‘It is, however, a claim that does not bear too much in the way of close scrutiny.’
    • ‘Today, he can eliminate some of the crime prints just by having a close look at them.’
    • ‘Stocks are moving cautiously higher today as investors keep a close eye on those oil prices.’
    • ‘Yet, a close analysis of West Brom two summers ago and reveal that all has not changed utterly.’
    • ‘This can be a major source of error if you're not keeping close track of what every letter stands for.’
    • ‘A close examination of the group's claims has revealed serious holes.’
    • ‘But a close comparison of the various reports also throws up a number of differences that the BBC will have to explain.’
    • ‘We'll take a close look at the tightest races across the country with our political panel.’
    • ‘Doctors said she wakened after the surgery and was being kept under close observation.’
    • ‘At last week's full council meeting she called for close monitoring of the situation by the county council.’
    • ‘But about five per cent of cases in the city had some drug resistance and needed close observation.’
    • ‘Both men were hit by debris from accidents and Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix will be under close scrutiny.’
    • ‘A close investigation of the bags throws up till receipts which make very interesting reading.’
    • ‘Samuel had to be treated for several infections and was kept under close observation in case his condition changed.’
    • ‘The best precautionary measure is close observation of the patient's condition.’
    • ‘Despite a lack of wind, racing was close and the umpires were given plenty of cause for close scrutiny.’
    • ‘The Web site now has over eight thousand historical maps available for close examination.’
    careful, detailed, thorough, minute, painstaking, meticulous, assiduous, diligent, rigorous, scrupulous, conscientious, attentive, focused, intent, concentrated, searching, methodical
    vigilant, watchful, keen, alert
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    1. 3.1Carefully guarded.
      ‘his whereabouts are a close secret’
      • ‘The third part of the trilogy is being kept a close secret.’
      • ‘The entire operation was kept a close secret.’
      • ‘They announced the pregnancy in January after their romance had been kept a close secret.’
      • ‘Details are being kept a close secret until press day at the show.’
      • ‘And while this was being sorted out, the brotherhood tried to keep the problem a close secret.’
      • ‘Every year, the Sowdens and the Waites put up their displays on the same day, but keep them a close secret until they are finished.’
      • ‘The contents of the correspondence are still being kept a close secret and neither side has released any details.’
      carefully guarded, closely guarded, strict, tight
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2Not willing to give away money or information; secretive.
      ‘you're very close about your work, aren't you?’
      • ‘She was quite close with money, and they often had horrendous arguments about spending.’
      • ‘I've been begging her to let me meet you all for quite some time, but she's kept very close about it.’
      reticent, quiet, uncommunicative, unforthcoming, private, secretive, tight-lipped, close-mouthed, close-lipped, guarded, evasive
      View synonyms
  • 4Uncomfortably humid or airless.

    ‘a close, hazy day’
    ‘it was very close in the dressing room’
    • ‘It looks like being dryer and warmer inland and may be a bit close.’
    • ‘At weddings and religious ceremonies where attendees were crowded and when the atmosphere was very close, these "portable air conditioners" were in great demand.’
    • ‘It was in the middle of the afternoon that some people began to notice a change, it began to get close and unseasonably warm.’
    • ‘The room was close and airless, making a tense situation even more tense.’
    • ‘As many as 30,000 people are crammed into close, hot and extremely humid quarters.’
    humid, muggy, stuffy, airless, fuggy, heavy, sticky, steamy, clammy, sultry, oppressive, stifling, suffocating, like a turkish bath, like a sauna
    View synonyms
  • 5Phonetics

    another term for high
    • ‘In the following presentation both the 'open' and the 'close' pronunciation of each of the five vowels is illustrated.’
    • ‘Its vowel height is near-close, which means the tongue is positioned similarly to a close vowel, but slightly less constricted.’


  • Very near to someone or something; with very little space between.

    ‘they stood close to the door’
    ‘he was holding her close’
    • ‘She keeps Betsy close as they wade through the crowds at the Statue of Liberty in New York.’
    • ‘Her arm quickly pulled him close and she hugged him tight like she'd never let him go.’
    • ‘She then proceeded to hold it close to her heart, calling his name.’
    • ‘He loved it when she put her arms around him and hugged him close.’
    • ‘There was a car following close behind us and I was praying that the airport wouldn't be far away.’
    • ‘Following close behind her, Lily could almost feel Marion breathing on her neck.’
    • ‘She squealed, as he moved dangerously close to the edge of the pool.’
    • ‘Viewers may try to step closer to the surface of each canvas in search of clues.’
    • ‘They just weren't strong enough, and the boats were coming uncomfortably close now.’
    • ‘She cried for almost an hour, hugging me close to her chest.’
    • ‘Once Dr. West left the room Vivienne scooted closer to the edge of the bed and patted the empty space.’
    • ‘She reached forward and grabbed the hands from the bed and pulled them close to her heart.’
    • ‘‘You shouldn't step so close to the edge,’ I said.’
    • ‘He smiled and Thomas and I leaned even closer to hear him as his voice dropped with each passing word.’
    • ‘It is not rude to stare or for persons to crowd one another at counters or stand very close.’
    • ‘Hoss had taken the little boy on his lap, and the other children had crowded close about him.’
    • ‘I saw Val lead the rest of the team around the end of the truck and they followed her close.’
    • ‘He just kissed my cheek and pulled me even closer to his chest.’
    • ‘As his hands met along her spine, he briefly pulled her close and held her tight.’
    • ‘Marie turned back to Alex with an angry expression, leaning close so that their faces were inches apart.’
    • ‘‘Here, let me help you with these,’ he said, pulling me closer to shore.’
    • ‘Mom moved up the cot and squeezed next to Mira and held her close.’


  • 1[often in names] A residential street without through access.

    ‘she lives at 12 Goodwood Close’
    • ‘Like Edinburgh, it also has an Old Town, with narrow closes and tall, old buildings.’
    • ‘Around every corner lies another close, another lane, the bright sun throwing the rough stone walls into relief.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, sober stone houses peek coyly at one and other across cobbled streets and evocative old closes.’
    • ‘The hot water has remained off in four closes, Olley, Mcintosh, Brackley and Douglas.’
    • ‘There were no streets, only avenues, crescents and closes.’
    • ‘But the secluded closes that run off the High Street and Canongate in Edinburgh's Old Town can also provide cover for criminal activities.’
    • ‘They are two of 19 domestic and commercial owners in two adjacent closes which are now deluged whenever it rains.’
    street, road, cul-de-sac
    courtyard, quadrangle, enclosure, piazza
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The precinct surrounding a cathedral.
      • ‘The close of the cathedral is surrounded by a wall, which was built in the reign of Edward I.’
      • ‘Pride of place goes to the cathedral and close, with a rich legacy of surviving and well-documented buildings.’
      • ‘Stuff like this gives just as much pleasure as a cathedral close or a Regency arcade.’
      • ‘She has come a long way from the Aga saga and the cathedral close.’
      • ‘The museum is in the heart of historic Salisbury, in the cathedral close.’
    2. 1.2A playing field at certain traditional English public schools.
      • ‘It was back in 1823 when Rugby School pupil William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it during a game of football on The Close that one of the world's most popular sports was created.’
    3. 1.3Scottish An entry from the street to a common stairway or to a court at the back of a building.
      • ‘There are fireworks, of course, and wee boys have a licence to roam the streets letting off bangers up closes, down dunnies and underneath unsuspecting old-age pensioners.’
      • ‘And through the years that followed - the drugs, the sleeping up closes, the risking her life on the streets - it's a lesson she has never forgotten.’
      • ‘Although Scotland's tenement flats are a well-loved part of urban culture, the upkeep of closes, roofs and other common areas can be a source of disastrous friction.’
      • ‘The tenement close was a semi-private extension of the street.’
      • ‘Most tenements have a back entrance leading from the common close.’


  • at (or in) close quarters

    • Very or uncomfortably close to someone or something.

      ‘he witnessed the atrocities of war at close quarters’
      ‘housing shortages force people to live in close quarters’
      • ‘Living in close quarters with her, I decided that the time had come for me to learn how to speak my mother tongue.’
      • ‘It was an unforgettable experience to see Everest at close quarters.’
      • ‘There are many 19 th-century illustrations of the disastrous possibilities that could befall a whaling boat at close quarters with a whale.’
      • ‘Lack of intimacy and diversity of interpretation means my account cannot lay claim to the kind of authority biography has when conducted at close quarters and with access to uncontested evidence.’
      • ‘He was under sustained enemy fire, witnessed fighting at close quarters with bayonets, and the death and serious injury of many comrades and enemy soldiers.’
      • ‘There will inevitably continue to be problems that arise from living in close quarters while performing a lengthy, gruelling activity.’
      • ‘Short of scuba diving in sub-tropical waters, this must be the best way to see sharks at close quarters - and certainly safer.’
      • ‘If the air-powered darts fails for any reason, the gun handset can be used itself at close quarters as a stun gun.’
      • ‘I have seen half a dozen conflicts at close quarters and know exactly what shrapnel does to flesh and bullet does to bone.’
      • ‘The audience is ushered into a series of spaces where battles and banquets take place at close quarters.’
  • close by

    • Very near; nearby.

      ‘her father lives quite close by’
      • ‘It is one of the only churches in the region without a graveyard adjacent to it or close by.’
      • ‘She applied for an allotment close by in Camden, only to be told none would be available until 2007.’
      • ‘I live in the city, I have all the restaurants and bars close by and there's a gym at the corner of my street.’
      • ‘They now have five children and eight grandchildren, all living close by.’
      • ‘Had the resident looked out of the window at that precise moment, they would have noticed a van parked close by.’
      • ‘He also warned that the centre could affect businesses who might not like the idea of having a recycling centre close by.’
      • ‘She thought it was her husband until she heard a voice muttering close by.’
      • ‘A number of items belonging to him are thought to have been found close by.’
      • ‘Others living close by worked there as care assistants and nurses, or in the kitchens and as cleaners.’
      • ‘Lyon International airport is also close by, and you can access the ski resorts very easily in winter.’
  • close to (or close on)

    • (of an amount) almost; very nearly.

      ‘he spent close to 30 years in jail’
      • ‘It made the Mughal army supremely powerful and effective for close on 150 years.’
      • ‘I moved down to Durham, North Carolina and was there for close to 5 months.’
      • ‘Before the end of the weekend it is estimated that he lost close to a million pounds in deals.’
      • ‘When you add up both candidates' programmes, they amount to close on $3 trillion each.’
      • ‘My band has spent close on a year recording our first album.’
  • close to the bone

  • close to one's heart

  • close to home

  • close up

    • 1Stop using or operating a business or building.

      ‘the solicitor advised me to close the house up for the time being’
      • ‘The management company came by and ‘closed them up.’’
      • ‘A newly paved road, financed by remittances, leads to a virtual ghost town where more than half the homes are closed up.’
      • ‘Heritage listing, however, does not imply that a place would be closed up and treated as a museum piece.’
      • ‘Like I said, I'm this close to closing this business up.’
      • ‘Two houses have been closed up for the winter already.’
      • ‘‘He stopped betting as the bookies closed up shop after the police decided to crack down on gambling,’ she explained.’
      • ‘Sometime in the middle of last year, the business pulled the plug - literally - and closed up shop.’
    • 2(of an opening) grow smaller or become blocked by something.

      ‘she felt her throat close up’
      • ‘He felt his throat close up, his heart stop, gooseflesh creep up every inch of his skin.’
      • ‘She could feel her throat closing up and knew she was going to start crying any moment.’
      • ‘Her throat was closing up, she could not swallow or breathe, and within five minutes she had lost consciousness.’
      • ‘She couldn't breathe; her throat was closing up.’
      • ‘If the hole closes up, the sinus can potentially become infected and fill up with pus again.’
      • ‘I choked on my own tears, and my throat closed up.’
      • ‘I felt my throat closing up, my palms getting sweaty.’
      • ‘My throat was closing up, and my heart thudded loudly in my chest.’
      • ‘My throat began to close up as I struggled not to break down in tears.’
      • ‘His throat closed up, his eyes filled with tears, his face flushed with anger and sorrow mixed.’
    • (of a person's face) become blank and emotionless or hostile.

      ‘he didn't like her laughter and his face closed up angrily’
      • ‘Peter turned away from him, his expression closing up.’
      • ‘She breaks off, her face closing up, her eyes darting away.’
      • ‘His face closed up and he looked away from her, towards the forest.’
  • come close

    • Almost achieve or do.

      ‘he came close to calling the Prime Minister a liar’
      • ‘The battle for a place in the final roared on like a blazing furnace with both teams coming close to breaking the deadlock.’
      • ‘To date, almost a month later, his colleagues do not even have a suspect, never mind coming close to making an arrest.’
      • ‘The now ageing boat took a heavy battering struggling into head winds in the Red Sea, and, after coming close to foundering, limped into an Egyptian marina.’
      • ‘They pressed forward in search of an equalizer, coming close on one occasion.’
      • ‘Of course she knew where he was now, knew that he had come close to achieving his lofty goals, and she honoured him for that.’
      • ‘Alexander was the first to dream of world domination and to come close to achieving it.’
      • ‘Whether he can come close to achieving as a manager what he achieved as a player remains to be seen.’
      • ‘It doesn't come close to achieving that target.’
      • ‘However their forwards kept plugging away with Michael Long and Brian Carbury coming close to scoring on at least two occasions.’
      • ‘George Orwell nearly killed himself and half his family in its whirlpool, coming close to depriving the world of his last book, 1984.’
  • too close for comfort

    • Dangerously or uncomfortably near.

      ‘he sat on the edge of the bed, far too close for comfort’
      figurative ‘an issue being discussed with a sufferer may be too close for comfort to the counsellor's personal experience’
      • ‘He had sent me to get a bone scan and it was showing that I had significant bone loss - not quite osteoporosis - but too close for comfort.’
      • ‘All he did was take one step, and suddenly, he was too close for comfort.’
      • ‘This was too close for comfort for all of us involved.’
      • ‘Inside you must know it was too close for comfort.’
      • ‘That was too close for comfort - he had almost given himself away.’
      • ‘Instead, he inched closer, too close for comfort.’
      • ‘She shifted away from him when he sat on the bed next to her, a little too close for comfort.’
      • ‘After some time, the snakes were getting too close for comfort and a couple of the village men frightened them off using long sticks with red cloth tied at one end.’
      • ‘More and more we are witnessing hurricanes passing this way, too close for comfort.’
      • ‘I absolutely refused to go anywhere near the wild dogs - they seemed way too close for comfort.’


Middle English: from Old French clos (as noun and adjective), from Latin clausum enclosure and clausus closed, past participle of claudere.




Main definitions of close in English

: close1close2



  • 1Move so as to cover an opening.

    [no object] ‘she jumped on to the train just as the doors were closing’
    [with object] ‘she closed the door quietly’
    ‘I kept closing my eyes and nodding off’
    [with object] ‘they had to close the window because of the insects’
    • ‘Finally the window closed and after latching it she tiptoed back into bed.’
    • ‘He folded his hands together, closed his eyes, and put his head on his folded hands and started to think.’
    • ‘Looking to the mouth of the alleyway Carl saw the woman in the blue dress climb into the limo and watched as the door closed and the window came down.’
    • ‘He heard the door close, though not lock, then the soft padding of someone walking towards him.’
    • ‘The sunshade on their terrace retracts, the windows close automatically whenever it starts to rain.’
    • ‘Then I ran about the house, madly closing all the windows.’
    • ‘When I heard the door close I moved back farther on the bed to where the pillows were and cried into them.’
    • ‘Once outside she let the door close behind her and she took a deep breath of the night air.’
    • ‘Not seeing anything unusual, he pulled his head in and Jon watched as the wide window closed.’
    • ‘Doors should be closed and gaps blocked with pillows and sheets, anything to stop the spread of smoke and the occupants should await rescue.’
    • ‘Safely inside, many Americans tried to seal off the house from the night air by closing all the doors and windows.’
    • ‘My table rocked, my lamp fell and went out, and my window closed as if some thief had been surprised and had fled out into the night, shutting it behind him.’
    • ‘I blew out the candles they had left burning last night and closed all the windows.’
    • ‘He flattened his ears, closed his eyes tighter and pretended to snore.’
    • ‘She locked all the windows, closed all the blinds, and curled up on the bed, shivering.’
    • ‘The window closed and he came out moments later, dressed in boxers and a baggy t-shirt.’
    • ‘With doors closing around me, the only path seemed to be the illegal one.’
    • ‘He appeared for no more than a minute, and did not speak, before the white curtains at his window were drawn closed.’
    • ‘He left and I went around to all the windows and closed all the curtains, like he had asked.’
    • ‘She quickly threw in some books and took some other books out, before closing the locker again.’
    • ‘Clasp your hands together and close your eyes and then say a few words of prayer.’
    • ‘In spite of Mrs Major locking all the doors, back and front and closing all the handy windows… they got in.’
    • ‘The small figure looking out the window moved back and closed the shades tightly.’
    shut, draw to, pull to, push to, slam
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Block up (a hole or opening)
      ‘close the hole with a plug of cotton wool’
      figurative ‘Stephen closed his ears to the sound’
      • ‘The notes were to be played in ascending order by first closing all the holes, and then opening each in quick succession.’
      • ‘Mary pressed the phone up hard against her ear, and closed the other one with her other hand.’
      • ‘His body was too weak for the operation and they were unable to close the hole in his brains.’
      • ‘This opening is closed by a solid slab of Pakistani onyx, which can be slid in and out of position.’
      • ‘Her tongue pokes out with concentration and her face is screwed up in determination as she at last closes the hole.’
      • ‘The animal can completely withdraw its body into its shell, closing the opening with a leathery hood.’
      • ‘We patched up the fence and closed the holes.’
      • ‘Charlie watched the silhouette of Joe shovel dirt into the grave and close the hole.’
      • ‘New versions of the software are available that close the holes.’
      • ‘The Alliance pilots seemed to be a step ahead of him, however, for they were positioning themselves on all sides, closing any safe openings.’
      • ‘They took the site offline for several hours Thursday to close the hole.’
      • ‘If there's a security hole in a piece of software, the hole can be closed or mitigated.’
      • ‘After we removed the tube from the mound wall, the termites immediately closed the hole.’
      • ‘The surgery closes the opening and drains the fluid in the sac.’
      • ‘The only solution is surgery to close the hole and reinforce the spot.’
      • ‘He performed the first open-heart surgery in the world to close a hole in the heart with the help of a microchip camera.’
      • ‘Ryan throws the engagement ring into the shaft and closes the opening.’
      • ‘The authors used a platelet function analyser that timed platelets aggregating into a plug big enough to close a small hole in a membrane.’
      • ‘Council taxpayers' money will be used to close the huge hole in Hampshire's local authority pension fund.’
      • ‘Adjustable iron plates were fitted into the table to close the opening when the saw was adjusted.’
      block, block off, block up, stop up, plug, seal, seal off, seal up, shut off, shut up, cork, stopper
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[with object]Bring two parts of (something) together so as to block its opening or bring it into a folded state.
      ‘Loretta closed her mouth’
      ‘Rex closed the book’
      • ‘Without closing the record book she had been scanning Cale got up and strode anxiously to the main library corridor, then out through the double - doors that formed the entrance.’
      • ‘She closed her mouth and brought a cloth to clean up the mess.’
      • ‘His patience was rewarded after a few minutes when Matt gently put down the book without closing it and sighed.’
      • ‘She opened her mouth before closing it and looking at her papers.’
      • ‘I clapped the two sides of my book together to close it, hiding the note within its pages.’
      • ‘I looked down and closed my sketch book quickly, hoping he hadn't seen anything.’
      • ‘She brought her hand back to the book and closed it with a finger marking the place.’
      • ‘I knew my mouth would go dry, and I would just end up opening and closing my mouth like a fish.’
      • ‘She closed her lips together when swallowing and dabbed her mouth when necessary to clear any excessive spillage from her lips.’
      • ‘‘I am,’ said Vilma, closing her diary and folding her arms.’
      • ‘He disagrees with something or is confused, and he makes a move to say something by slightly opening his mouth, then closing it.’
      • ‘Miri joined her at the table and sat, closing the notebook and folding her hands.’
      • ‘He shrugged, book marking the answer book and closing it, setting aside the rest of the student papers to be corrected later.’
      • ‘She shrieks, opening her mouth, closing it, then shaking her head with slow, ominous intent.’
      • ‘Daryl closes his note book and walks over to them.’
      • ‘I opened my mouth then closed it again, not able to come up with an answer without embarrassing myself.’
      • ‘She hesitated a moment, opening her mouth, but then closing it again.’
      • ‘I said as I rounded up to her as she was closing her Bible and packing away her notes.’
      • ‘For the same reason, it is customary to kiss a sacred book when closing it and putting it away.’
      • ‘Damien took a last look at the book before closing it.’
    3. 1.3[no object]Come into contact with (something) so as to encircle and hold it.
      ‘my fist closed around the weapon’
      • ‘The nipple is visible again in the next shot as the baby's mouth closes around it.’
      • ‘My fingers closed around a thin wrist, and my eyes met those of a boy's my age.’
      • ‘Seeing the look in my eye as I imagined my hands closing around his official collar and tie, he took a step backwards.’
      • ‘As his hands closed around a body he realised it was a squab.’
      • ‘He died of crush asphyxia after two metal bars under the chair closed around him, trapping his neck and upper chest, a pathologist told the inquest.’
      • ‘His fingers closed around the sinewy handle of the knife the father had shown him, and he lifted it out of the drawer.’
      come together, join, connect, come into contact, unite, form a circle
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4[with object]Make (an electric circuit) continuous.
      ‘this will cause a relay to operate and close the circuit’
      • ‘The circuit closes when the particles reaches the ionosphere, the outer layer of the earth's atmosphere.’
      • ‘Contact of the electrodes with the apoplastic water film was signalled by the closing of the electrical circuit.’
      • ‘In this way, the capsule can open and close an electric circuit depending on the angle at which it is tipped.’
      • ‘When the charges connect, effectively closing a circuit, electric energy flows along that jagged path.’
      • ‘An electric circuit seemed to close, and a spark flashed forth.’
  • 2Bring or come to an end.

    [with object] ‘the members were thanked for attending and the meeting was closed’
    [no object] ‘the concert closed with ‘Silent Night’’
    ‘the closing stages of the election campaign’
    • ‘It was to be an early start the next day for filming in the town and lots of props, etc. to get ready, so the meeting closed earlier than usual.’
    • ‘The course is open to all corps, nominations close at the end of the year.’
    • ‘Immediately after the polls had closed on Sunday, wrangling began over the formation of a new government in Berlin.’
    • ‘Refreshments were served by Beatrice and Betty Foster and the meeting closed at 9.30 pm.’
    • ‘When the polls closed for the day at 5.30 pm university officials said nearly 5,000 people had cast their votes.’
    • ‘Nominations close on Friday, August 15 and winners will be announced in December.’
    • ‘The festival closes at 2pm with words of wisdom from Wigan scriptwriter Paul Finch who will conduct a question and answer session.’
    • ‘Fist fights ensued before the convention closed, with Eisenhower as the nominee.’
    • ‘As the meeting closed, Mr Hill talked about his confidence that Bradford would become a better place to live and work.’
    • ‘The vote for your choice from our Top 50 has now closed - see the result below.’
    • ‘David Cham gave a warm vote of thanks and the meeting closed.’
    • ‘And he is already making plans for the next stage of his career after Mamma Mia closes at the end of next year.’
    • ‘For these reasons, it was my decision to advise that the case against her be closed at the screening stage…’
    • ‘Cliff Bradley gave a warm vote of thanks on behalf of members and the meeting closed.’
    • ‘Light refreshments will be served, with the meeting closing at 8pm.’
    • ‘After a little wait, Nandor Tanczos made his way on stage to introduce the band, and from opening to closing note I loved every minute of it.’
    • ‘Advanced registration for both meetings closes at midnight EDT on May 17, 2004.’
    • ‘The video closes as Favour opens the kiln to show us the finished products, which have been treated with a transparent glaze.’
    • ‘When bidding closed, the result was announced by Cllr Jepson following a meeting of full council.’
    • ‘Polls close at 9pm and results are already being called in five minutes later.’
    end, bring to an end, come to an end, conclude, finish, terminate, wind up, break off, halt, call a halt to, discontinue, dissolve
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[no object]Finish speaking or writing.
      ‘we close with a point about truth’
      ‘Nellie's closing words’
      • ‘Before I close I would like to say a few words about genetic engineering.’
      • ‘In closing, a word of thanks for your tireless efforts in keeping us all informed of the latest UFO sightings.’
      • ‘I do not intend to take my full 10 minutes on this call, but I want to say a few words in closing as we members of the House speak in the third reading.’
      • ‘In closing, I speculate that writing such a book is an unenviable task; it just invites criticism.’
      • ‘And now, reader, I am going to close here by a few words of plain application.’
      • ‘In closing I want to say a few words about my personal work.’
      • ‘In closing, I must leave the reader with the same word of caution that I began this section with.’
      • ‘In closing, I would just like to give a word, or two of advice to the soap producers…’
      end, bring to an end, come to an end, conclude, finish, terminate, wind up, break off, halt, call a halt to, discontinue, dissolve
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2[with object]Bring (a business transaction) to a satisfactory conclusion.
      ‘right now we are trying to close the deal with our sponsors’
      • ‘This plan would see the company allegedly count revenue on the books before deals had actually been closed.’
      • ‘I am satisfied that the vendor had satisfied its obligations and was ready to close the transaction.’
      • ‘If the deal had not been closed by this deadline, the BCC would have invited Erste Bank to negotiations.’
      • ‘Usually the tourists are attracted by the better rate and find out they have been tricked after the deal has been closed.’
      • ‘This deal should have been closed at the public market.’
      • ‘That philosophy stood him in good stead last year when he closed the biggest deal of his career to date.’
      • ‘Maybe the real sales pros are out closing deals left and right, trying to stick a fork in the recession.’
      • ‘The identity of who the principals were was not in issue so long as a deal could be closed without a vendor take back mortgage.’
      • ‘Rumours that the deal was about to be closed began racing through Fleet Street on Tuesday afternoon.’
      clinch, settle, secure, seal, set the seal on, confirm, guarantee, establish, transact, pull off, bring about, bring off
      View synonyms
  • 3[no object] (of a business, organization, or institution) cease to be in operation or accessible to the public, either permanently or at the end of a working day or other period of time.

    ‘the factory is to close with the loss of 150 jobs’
    [with object] ‘a hoax call which closed the city's stations for 4 hours’
    • ‘It was raining, and most businesses had closed early to allow people to attend the rally.’
    • ‘The pair are campaigning for the reopening of the small police station, which closed to the public several years ago.’
    • ‘Schools and businesses close at noon each day for two to three hours for a midday meal.’
    • ‘Most nurseries closed to the public in the winter months.’
    • ‘Saving the business meant closing 550 of the 600 shops with the loss of thousands of jobs, a decision she says was one of the hardest she has had to take.’
    • ‘Protesters claim problems started after the motel business closed.’
    • ‘The most important thing is that while many businesses are closing, we are not.’
    • ‘International travel would be stopped, schools closed and large public gatherings banned.’
    • ‘The bank remained closed to the public for the rest of the day as investigations continued.’
    • ‘The spokesman said the post office would stay closed until further notice.’
    • ‘Schools and businesses closed across the country as Poland mourned its national hero.’
    • ‘Shops and businesses in many towns closed to show their solidarity with the protest.’
    • ‘More than 200 children were sent home and the school permanently closed following the outbreak earlier this year.’
    • ‘Ricci attempted to visit Peking in 1595 but found the city closed to foreigners.’
    • ‘If the strike goes ahead it could see schools close, council services disrupted and hospitals affected.’
    • ‘As public transport stops before the clubs close, there are always people needing to get home by taxi.’
    • ‘The age-old institution is closing forever next Tuesday due to lack of funds.’
    • ‘Other public buildings such as government offices and courts also closed.’
    • ‘Once they got to the mall, they realized that it was closed for renovation.’
    • ‘The pub building has been unoccupied since the business closed almost two years ago, and had fallen into disrepair.’
    cease activity, shut down, close down, cease production, cease operating, come to a halt, cease trading
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1[with object]Remove all the funds from (a bank or building society account) and cease to use it.
      ‘I went to the bank to close an account held by my daughter’
      • ‘But people who have a whole collection of cards that are gathering dust should consider cancelling them and closing the accounts.’
      • ‘When customers move banks, they do not always close the old account.’
      • ‘Ask for new credit cards, and close any existing bank accounts and open new ones.’
      • ‘After 18 months, the husband closed the account and opened an account in his wife's name.’
      • ‘As a sop, bank chiefs agreed to drop the fee for closing a current account - a charge that in effect penalised customers for moving their banking business.’
      • ‘She closed her account in frustration over the poor performance of her portfolio.’
      • ‘You can, however, close the account completely by giving three months notice.’
      • ‘On the last banking day of the year he planned to close the joint bank account, and give his lover a weekly allowance in cash.’
      • ‘I have delayed closing his bank account - it just hurt too much.’
      • ‘If you close the account before the end of the 12 months, you'll be penalised to the tune of one month's interest.’
      • ‘You can close the Monthly Saver account at any time without penalty.’
      • ‘After my card was stolen, I decided to change banks and closed my existing accounts.’
      • ‘Mrs Smith, who is currently on holiday in Italy, has now closed the account and transferred funds into another.’
      • ‘Our organisation has been trying to close our current account and transfer these funds to another bank, but to no avail.’
      • ‘Eventually, I got around to closing my account and the encouragements to spend stopped.’
      • ‘The account will be closed shortly and the cheque handed over to the hospice.’
      • ‘In many cases the account may have been closed years ago or may have been held by a person who is now deceased.’
      • ‘Don't close the account, however, because you want to keep the credit established.’
      • ‘Don't close your existing account and open a new one, or you'll lose your tax-free status!’
      • ‘He has cut up the credit card and closed his bank accounts.’
    2. 3.2Computing [with object]Make (a file) inaccessible after use, so that it is securely stored until required again.
      ‘a statement is used to close a data file’
      • ‘Once the last open descriptor to the file is closed, the file will no longer be accessible.’
      • ‘Once students close the computer file containing the test, the results of the exam are locked in and can't be changed.’
  • 4[no object] Gradually get nearer to someone or something.

    ‘he tried to walk faster, but each time the man closed up on him again’
    • ‘He has a knife… he's stabbing people with it… and he's closing on you fast.’
    • ‘At this point the battleship King George V was only 200 miles away and closing fast.’
    • ‘With 35 minutes of the race to go, the Saleen was just 30 sec behind Brabham and closing fast enough to be right on his tail in the final ten minutes.’
    • ‘The attacker is still running at him, perhaps ten yards away and closing fast, reaching for knives at his belt with each hand.’
    • ‘Both of them had taken the weekend off to spend some time together before their wedding, which was only 4 months away, and closing fast.’
    • ‘Jenson, it must have been frustrating feeling you couldn't go any faster and he was closing on you relentlessly.’
    • ‘By his estimate the Alliance starfighters were about two minutes away but closing fast.’
    • ‘If an opposing guard is closing fast for a layup, let her go.’
    • ‘A few of the faster Predators were already closing on the small fleet of Nemesis ships.’
    • ‘In the distance, but closing fast, he heard the sound of an engine.’
    • ‘The boat was on our starboard quarter, a couple of miles out and closing.’
    • ‘As I turned my head forward, I spied a large, white bird at my 1 o'clock position and closing fast.’
    • ‘Ten minutes had gone and the Kilkenny boys had yet to threaten the Offaly goal, St Brendanís were closing and closing fast.’
    • ‘Fergal Lynch, who is closing fast on his maiden century of winners, takes the mount on Gaelic Princess, who is expected to have too much speed for her rivals.’
    • ‘They were less than fifty yards out and closing fast by the time everyone was up from under ground.’
    • ‘The enemy task force was only a half-klick away and closing fast.’
    • ‘He threw the throttle to ninety percent, closing fast on his quarry.’
    • ‘The Colombian's Williams is now closing fast on Button's BAR in fifth place.’
    • ‘They were closing fast, but Justin was only ten feet from the door.’
    • ‘But one of the heavy cruisers was maneuvering to intercept them, and was closing fast.’
    catch up, creep up, near, approach, gain on someone, draw near, draw nearer, get near, get nearer, come near, come nearer, draw close, draw closer, get close, get closer, come close, come closer
    narrow, lessen, become smaller, grow smaller, make smaller, dwindle, diminish, reduce, shrink, contract, constrict, become narrower, get narrower, make narrower
    View synonyms


  • 1The end of an event or of a period of time or activity.

    ‘the afternoon drew to a close’
    ‘the seminar was brought to a close with a discussion of future trends’
    • ‘There is a lot to reflect on these days as the year draws to a close.’
    • ‘Now it appears the national herd may end up as low as 450,000-480,000 by the close of 2002.’
    • ‘The summer may be drawing to a close, but York Racecourse has still been pulling the crowds for its September meeting.’
    • ‘Yet once our trip had come to a close we were left with the knowledge that when you really put your mind to some thing you can accomplish anything.’
    • ‘As my excited nerves calmed down, the interview wound its way to a close.’
    • ‘The intense planning and preparing over many weeks, even months, is now drawing a close.’
    • ‘Many of those rights found legal expression at the close of the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘This will bring to a close what was probably the most concentrated fund raising drive the parish has ever seen.’
    • ‘The five-year project, which has disrupted many communities in Bradford, will draw to a close at the end of the year.’
    • ‘The incident was brought to a close at midnight when the man came down from the roof.’
    • ‘The spirited crowd were said to be still dancing the night away when the ball drew to a close at 1 am.’
    • ‘It's the return of the ice that you have to watch out for, and it was back with a vengeance as October came to a close.’
    • ‘It can be the year when we draw to a close this sorry chapter in our treatment of those with disabilities.’
    • ‘A most enjoyable night was had by all and at the close a minimum of €1,000 had been raised.’
    • ‘It was only when my voice gave out completely that the day had to draw to a close.’
    • ‘We couldn't have known it at the time, but eight years of unparalleled success were about to draw to a close.’
    • ‘By the time their set was coming to a close the band had the audience eating out of their hands.’
    • ‘His desperate financial woes, it seems, will finally be coming to a close.’
    • ‘After the national close of the campaign on August 12 the initiative will not be forgotten.’
    • ‘I have been with the company for 12 years and I feel that my time has come to a close.’
    end, finish, conclusion, termination, cessation, completion
    culmination, finale, resolution, climax, denouement
    bring to an end, finish, conclude, close, wind up, terminate, dissolve
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The end of a day's trading on a stock market.
      ‘by the close the Dow Jones average was down 13.52 points at 2,759.84’
      • ‘Shares fell around three per cent at the close of trading yesterday.’
      • ‘If big news breaks after the close of trading, a late trade can land a quick profit - or avoid a big loss.’
      • ‘Shares in the club were 1.5 pence higher at 286.5 pence by the close of trade in London on Thursday.’
      • ‘It will also look closely into whether brokers handle orders near the close of the market fairly.’
      • ‘The company's share price then finished at a new low of 2.7 cents at the close of trade yesterday.’
      • ‘When the pros are more bullish than amateurs, the pros will drive prices higher all day and into the close.’
      • ‘The Dow had fallen more than 69 points in late trading before recovering at the close.’
      • ‘In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index is showing a fall of about 0.9 percent near the close.’
      • ‘Say a customer wanted to find out how many transactions it could run before the close of the stock market on a given day.’
      • ‘The termination is expected to occur after the close of trading on May 28.’
      • ‘Therefore, the real value of the mutual fund may be quite different from the calculated value at the close of the trading day.’
    2. 1.2The end of a day's play in a cricket match.
      ‘at the close, Lancashire were 129 for 3’
      • ‘They had added an unbeaten 28 for the third wicket by the close.’
      • ‘By the close of the fourth day they were 37 for 5, Ellison taking four in 15 balls.’
      • ‘But the decision looked to be a good one, for at the close of play Derbyshire had reached 311 for four.’
      • ‘No more wickets fell before the close and Jaques ended unbeaten on 67.’
      • ‘The declaration came with an hour of the fourth day remaining, and England grabbed the big wicket of Graeme Smith before the close.’
    3. 1.3Music The conclusion of a phrase; a cadence.
      • ‘The orchestra takes its own stance leading the soloist towards an exciting close.’
      • ‘A double bar, usually with repeat marks, signifies the close of the first main section.’
      • ‘As Consequence Music flies by, it continues to resound as it fades away in the distance when Rotifer gently brings it to a perfect close.’
  • 2The shutting of something, especially a door.

    ‘the door jerked to a close behind them’
    • ‘The music faded as the door swung to a close behind me.’
    • ‘He extends his hand toward the metal door, bringing it slamming to a close.’
    • ‘The door came to a close behind me.’


  • close the door on (or to)

  • close one's eyes to

  • close one's mind to

  • close ranks

    • 1(of soldiers or police officers) come closer together in a line.

      • ‘I think that when the police feel under attack they tend to close ranks.’
      • ‘As the sons and daughters of professional Army officers, our impulse was to close ranks and stand where we were told to stand.’
      1. 1.1Unite in order to defend common interests.
        ‘the family had always closed ranks in times of crisis’
        • ‘Their unprecedented public embrace confirmed the government was closing ranks against a common foe.’
        • ‘Publicly, the party was one step closer to closing ranks.’
        • ‘But independent pharmacists are already closing ranks to fight any proposed changes.’
        • ‘We should both call on all our supporters to prepare themselves to close ranks as Americans and unite the country behind the winner as soon as this process is complete.’
        • ‘But this morning, the Administration's best and brightest were closing ranks.’
        • ‘It is not, however, clear that the community is united enough yet to effectively close ranks against coalition forces.’
        • ‘The food industry was closing ranks today over the prospect of introducing a traffic light-style scheme to label the healthiness of foods.’
        • ‘The teammates, all female, asserted that her terrifying behavior that day justified their permanently closing ranks against her.’
        • ‘When an academic exposes some problem such as favouritism, plagiarism or sexual abuse, it is common for senior academics and administrators to close ranks and squelch open discussion.’
        • ‘Why don't we close ranks, to face these economic interests?’

Phrasal Verbs

  • close down (or close something down)

    • 1Cease or cause to cease business or operation, especially permanently.

      ‘the government promised to close down the nuclear plants within twenty years’
      • ‘If you fail to follow the rules your business will be closed down permanently.’
      • ‘I suspect that those people will stay at home, and a lot of those businesses will be closed down as a result.’
      • ‘Britain's ageing nuclear power stations will have to be closed down soon.’
      • ‘However, it would not be difficult to close the company down should it break its commitment, he said.’
      • ‘Following the latest vandalism attack on Dungarvan's Day Care Centre, there are increasing fears that management may be forced to close it down permanently.’
      • ‘Seven of our 10 hospital theatres have been closed down because we do not have any money to do operations.’
      • ‘Since then a large number of operating plants were closed down.’
      • ‘They had closed many cinemas down and were dismantling projectors for scrap.’
      • ‘On current plans, over the next two decades, the UK will lose around nine gigawatts of generation capacity, as the old nuclear reactors are closed down.’
      • ‘I am thinking very hard about closing my businesses down because of it.’
      • ‘The old facilities were closed down and are not in operation any more.’
      cease activity, shut down, close down, cease production, cease operating, come to a halt, cease trading
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1British (of a broadcasting station) end transmission until the next day.
        ‘the BBC closed down for the rest of the day’
        • ‘I remember watching the television continuously for the rest of the evening until it closed down for the night.’
        • ‘ITV cancelled their programmes for the rest of the evening and some regions actually closed down.’
        • ‘Of the five terrestrial channels BBC 1 and ITV close down when it gets a bit late.’
        • ‘The station closed down at midnight.’
  • close in

    • 1Come nearer to someone being pursued.

      ‘the police were closing in on them’
      • ‘Gardai are closing in on a ruthless criminal family suspected of targeting prison officers in a vicious campaign of attacks and intimidation in Limerick.’
      • ‘Hurricane Rita is tonight closing in on the Texas - Louisiana coast with 125-mile-an-hour winds.’
      • ‘Creditors were closing in on Mr Smith, who owed up to £450,000.’
      • ‘Listening to them on the other side of their lead-lined protective barrier was like listening to a bombing crew closing in on its target.’
      • ‘With American troops quickly closing in, surrounding him on three sides, Weatherford's only escape was a bluff above the wintry Alabama River.’
      • ‘Detectives today believe they are closing in on a man described as a ‘real danger to women’ after receiving leads from the public.’
      • ‘The FBI is believed to be closing in on him and think he still lives in the US.’
      • ‘With the rebels closing in on the sprawling capital, many feared a battle for control between them and the president's militant supporters.’
      • ‘But aware the police were closing in on them, they bolted, leaving fingerprints on cups and the Monopoly set that police then used in their forensic investigation.’
      • ‘He believes the police are closing in on his family and is afraid to go home.’
      • ‘Police said yesterday they were closing in on the alleged rapist, who is believed to have attacked more than a dozen women in south Trinidad over the past few months.’
      1. 1.1Gradually surround, especially with the effect of hindering movement or vision.
        ‘the weather has now closed in so an attempt on the summit is unlikely’
        • ‘The darkness closed in on her, trapping her in profuse exhaustion and a dull throbbing pain.’
        • ‘Deeper in the cave, the walls close in, darkness enfolds us, and we switch on our headlamps.’
        • ‘The sun was setting now and darkness was closing in.’
        • ‘The darkness seemed to close in around him like a noxious cloud.’
        • ‘Her head swims, the nausea closing in on her the way it does, fast, with light pulsing at the sides of her face, a fanning heat.’
        • ‘Finally we reach the visitor centre with darkness closing in, and as the engines are cut, an eerie silence falls again over the park.’
        • ‘For a long time he sat staring at him, night slowly closing in as his thoughts surrounded him.’
        • ‘Darkness was closing in and the rain beginning to fall as we drove up the long, tree lined road to the gates of Ham House.’
        • ‘She couldn't keep her eyes open anymore, the darkness closing in around her vision.’
        • ‘Walkers and shoppers, particularly as darkness closes in can be seen pausing to have a closer look at the array of lights, Santa's and Christmas items.’
      2. 1.2(of days) get successively shorter with the approach of the winter solstice.
        ‘November was closing in’
        • ‘It's sure to be a winner with the nights closing in hard for the Winter.’
        • ‘With winter closing in, does someone in your family suffer from Seasonal Adjustment Disorder?’
        • ‘And presumably it's already pretty cold and winter is closing in?’
        • ‘As the winter closes in and daylight vanishes, so does the plot.’
        • ‘The sports centre has re-opened it's doors for the new season and with the nights closing in and Winter almost upon us it's sure to be a virtual hive of activity until the Spring comes around.’
        • ‘Winter may be closing in fast, but not all sailors are prepared to call it a day just yet and several clubs are running race series, which take them through into the New Year.’
        • ‘When trekking over mountains became too difficult and winter was closing in, the need to abandon personal possessions to speed up travel became imperative.’
        • ‘But, with dark winter evenings closing in, there are still no signs up, and no evidence of any work on a pedestrian refuge.’
        • ‘When winter closes in, it gets easy to raid the refrigerator but hard to face the scale.’
        • ‘Now that half term is over and with winter closing in again, your thoughts may be turning to summer holidays.’
  • close something out

    • Bring something to an end.

      ‘Steve tried to close out the conversation’
      • ‘Thus, users have a total system that works from start to finish to automate the entire process from bidding the job to building the job to closing the job out.’
      • ‘And the odd part is she never calls the police after this and in fact arranges to meet with him again the next day to sort of close this relationship out.’
      • ‘I always look forward to closing activities out, getting them finished.’
      • ‘I'm now reviewing all the open items on my to-do list at work and closing things out.’
      • ‘Project Managers make extra efforts in codifying the mistakes made and corrective steps taken before any project is closed out.’
      • ‘Four times, three in the second half, Kerry led by five points and playing with an appreciable wind should really have closed the game out.’
      • ‘Last year we tended to sit back instead of closing the game out and getting the bonus.’
      • ‘Track seven closes the album out with a beautiful, low-key ambient piece.’
      • ‘The lads just aren't experienced at closing games out so it's my job to work on that.’
      • ‘Earl has really done a great job closing games out for us because of how well he shoots the ball and finishes shots for us.’
  • close up

    • 1Stop using or operating a business or building.

      ‘the solicitor advised me to close the house up for the time being’
      • ‘The management company came by and ‘closed them up.’’
      • ‘A newly paved road, financed by remittances, leads to a virtual ghost town where more than half the homes are closed up.’
      • ‘Heritage listing, however, does not imply that a place would be closed up and treated as a museum piece.’
      • ‘Like I said, I'm this close to closing this business up.’
      • ‘Two houses have been closed up for the winter already.’
      • ‘‘He stopped betting as the bookies closed up shop after the police decided to crack down on gambling,’ she explained.’
      • ‘Sometime in the middle of last year, the business pulled the plug - literally - and closed up shop.’
    • 2(of an opening) grow smaller or become blocked by something.

      ‘she felt her throat close up’
      • ‘He felt his throat close up, his heart stop, gooseflesh creep up every inch of his skin.’
      • ‘She could feel her throat closing up and knew she was going to start crying any moment.’
      • ‘Her throat was closing up, she could not swallow or breathe, and within five minutes she had lost consciousness.’
      • ‘She couldn't breathe; her throat was closing up.’
      • ‘If the hole closes up, the sinus can potentially become infected and fill up with pus again.’
      • ‘I choked on my own tears, and my throat closed up.’
      • ‘I felt my throat closing up, my palms getting sweaty.’
      • ‘My throat was closing up, and my heart thudded loudly in my chest.’
      • ‘My throat began to close up as I struggled not to break down in tears.’
      • ‘His throat closed up, his eyes filled with tears, his face flushed with anger and sorrow mixed.’
    • (of a person's face) become blank and emotionless or hostile.

      ‘he didn't like her laughter and his face closed up angrily’
      • ‘Peter turned away from him, his expression closing up.’
      • ‘She breaks off, her face closing up, her eyes darting away.’
      • ‘His face closed up and he looked away from her, towards the forest.’
  • close up

    • 1Stop using or operating a business or building.

      ‘the solicitor advised me to close the house up for the time being’
      • ‘The management company came by and ‘closed them up.’’
      • ‘A newly paved road, financed by remittances, leads to a virtual ghost town where more than half the homes are closed up.’
      • ‘Heritage listing, however, does not imply that a place would be closed up and treated as a museum piece.’
      • ‘Like I said, I'm this close to closing this business up.’
      • ‘Two houses have been closed up for the winter already.’
      • ‘‘He stopped betting as the bookies closed up shop after the police decided to crack down on gambling,’ she explained.’
      • ‘Sometime in the middle of last year, the business pulled the plug - literally - and closed up shop.’
    • 2(of an opening) grow smaller or become blocked by something.

      ‘she felt her throat close up’
      • ‘He felt his throat close up, his heart stop, gooseflesh creep up every inch of his skin.’
      • ‘She could feel her throat closing up and knew she was going to start crying any moment.’
      • ‘Her throat was closing up, she could not swallow or breathe, and within five minutes she had lost consciousness.’
      • ‘She couldn't breathe; her throat was closing up.’
      • ‘If the hole closes up, the sinus can potentially become infected and fill up with pus again.’
      • ‘I choked on my own tears, and my throat closed up.’
      • ‘I felt my throat closing up, my palms getting sweaty.’
      • ‘My throat was closing up, and my heart thudded loudly in my chest.’
      • ‘My throat began to close up as I struggled not to break down in tears.’
      • ‘His throat closed up, his eyes filled with tears, his face flushed with anger and sorrow mixed.’
    • (of a person's face) become blank and emotionless or hostile.

      ‘he didn't like her laughter and his face closed up angrily’
      • ‘Peter turned away from him, his expression closing up.’
      • ‘She breaks off, her face closing up, her eyes darting away.’
      • ‘His face closed up and he looked away from her, towards the forest.’
  • close with

    • Come near, especially so as to engage with (an enemy force)

      ‘their only hope was to close with the enemy’
      • ‘In 1665, as the English fleet closed with the enemy, two of his shipmates had premonitions of death.’
      • ‘Troops have traditionally been encouraged to roar when closing with the enemy, particularly to increase shock when springing an ambush.’
      • ‘The only answer is to repackage the forces we currently have into a joint force that is capable of strategic maneuver, engaging the enemy from land, air and sea, and closing with and destroying him.’
      • ‘However, just as a leader that has never been in combat must train his unit to shoot, move, and communicate in battle, he must also train them to deal with the repercussions they will feel after closing with and destroying the enemy.’
      • ‘Fortunately, combat arms units have means available to replicate and introduce men to the fear, anxiety, and adrenaline associated with closing with and destroying the enemy.’
      • ‘In order to gain time, closing with the enemy should proceed at maximum speed.’
      • ‘Maintaining weapons standoff and preventing enemy infantry from closing with the defending unit can overcome a lack of infantry support.’
      • ‘But they have also been unsuccessful in closing with the enemy.’
      • ‘Ground forces have the ability to render a decisive outcome by closing with and destroying enemy forces.’
      • ‘How easy would it be for an infantryman to lose that focus and revert to his mindset of closing with and destroying the enemy?’


Middle English: from Old French clos-, stem of clore, from Latin claudere to shut.