Definition of address in US English:



  • 1The particulars of the place where someone lives or an organization is situated.

    ‘they exchanged addresses and agreed to keep in touch’
    • ‘Among the abusive calls and text messages being received are some claiming to have put campaigners' addresses and contact details on Combat 18's target lists.’
    • ‘They exchanged addresses and phone numbers, but neither had contacted the other.’
    • ‘Suddenly the whole room's just buzzing and names and addresses are being exchanged.’
    • ‘His daughter, who is a police officer, has had her home address posted on the Internet.’
    • ‘Users are required to fill in their address and provide contact details as well as a proof of ID under the less known Aussie Patriots Act?’
    • ‘Anyway we exchanged names and addresses and now I'm expecting a huge bill.’
    • ‘You can get more information, including addresses and links on our Web site.’
    • ‘Paper was produced and they exchanged addresses.’
    • ‘I assured her that there was plenty of information on the address and that China Post was pretty good and would no doubt get the package to me.’
    • ‘The display system will contain a copy of the driver's license, his address and other details.’
    • ‘Detectives established addresses and other details and passed the information to British authorities.’
    • ‘On Sunday enjoy a farewell breakfast with your new friends, it will give you a chance to exchange names and addresses with your fellow guests.’
    • ‘The addresses and contact information of the main shops are a useful addition.’
    • ‘After we'd exchanged numbers and addresses, Marty looked as though he was about to explode.’
    • ‘I believe that journalists who deny anyone else a right of privacy should have details of their addresses and private lives made freely available.’
    • ‘But the list didn't have detailed addresses or contact information.’
    • ‘They exchanged mailing addresses and became good friends after their chance meeting.’
    • ‘The event served as a rendezvous for parents to exchange addresses for ‘further discussions’.’
    • ‘The people in the group bond in a special way, and addresses are exchanged at the end so you can keep in touch with, or just remind yourself of, those you walked with.’
    • ‘He gave no further details other than his address.’
    inscription, label, mark, superscription
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The place itself.
      ‘our officers went to the address’
      • ‘On Wednesday police raided an address in the Fell Lane area and discovered cannabis plants and cultivation equipment in the loft.’
      • ‘It is understood that they revealed the new name she was going to be using, possibly passport details and even clues to her new address.’
      • ‘Apparently he now lives at an address in Sheffield (news to him).’
      • ‘Armed officers and the Tactical Aid Unit raided three addresses in the Halliwell area including Slater Street, and Elgin Street, shortly after 7am.’
      • ‘I feel very powerful and godlike zooming around in the sky over the city, swooping down on this address or that.’
      • ‘Election laws allow students to register to vote from either their home or school address.’
      • ‘The Daily Echo has agreed to withhold details of the address, understood to be a family home, at the request of police for operational reasons.’
      • ‘We then drove to the second address, in Farnham, Surrey.’
      • ‘The gang of four or five men struck on Friday night at an address on Carr House Lane, Hollingworth in Tameside.’
      • ‘So it would seem switching service from one address to another is likely a pretty routine, fairly common occurrence.’
      • ‘Such students are informed at their mailing address to sit for examinations in nearby centres.’
      • ‘Police today refused to give out details of the addresses raided and would not confirm what allegations the man arrested yesterday is facing.’
      • ‘My neighbours are staying at other addresses because the houses are deemed to be unsafe.’
      • ‘Detectives hunting four suspected would-be suicide bombers after Thursday's attempted attacks in London focused on three addresses in the city yesterday.’
      • ‘All the offences are alleged to have taken place at two addresses in the Roehampton area on or before July 5 1985, and one charge relates to an alleged indecent assault on the Isle of Wight.’
      • ‘But she admitted that might not happen if the victims failed to give details of their new addresses.’
      • ‘The next day emergency crews rushed to that same address after receiving a call.’
      • ‘Information gleaned at these addresses led to subsequent raids.’
      • ‘As part of Operation Defy which is aimed at targeting class A drug dealers in the town, police officers targeted a number of addresses in the Walcott area, on Thursday evening.’
      • ‘Copies would continue to arrive at the deceased subscriber's last earthly address long after he died.’
      • ‘It's a widespread misconception that one must have a traditional permanent address in order to vote.’
      • ‘A second address in Birmingham was also raided, the entire door wrenched from its frame as police arrested three men inside.’
      • ‘A man who police were expecting to find at a second address in Prestwich was later arrested in Gorton.’
      • ‘He was arrested by anti-terrorist officers last Wednesday while searches were carried out at three residential addresses and a farm in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.’
      • ‘British soldiers already on standby could be moving to a more dangerous address by the end of the week.’
      • ‘DC Newton said the address in Field View has been known to the police as being used by a drugs community in the past.’
      • ‘A man was also arrested for failing to answer a court summons at Durham Magistrates Court at the same address.’
      • ‘Munich is now one of the premier addresses in international aviation.’
      • ‘On Tuesday, heroin and amphetamines with a street value of £3,500 were recovered from an address in the Kendray estate.’
      • ‘Thousands of leaflets had been given to motorists passing through and 1,000 had been hand-delivered to addresses in the city centre.’
      • ‘The woman was later taken by ambulance to Bradford Royal Infirmary after a call was made to the emergency services by a relative from an address in the Leeds Road area.’
      • ‘The pair were married and eventually settled at their current address in Rhodes Street, Tottington.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman for the Merseyside force said a man in his early 20s was arrested less than two hours later at an address in the Anfield area of the city.’
      • ‘Officers targeted 11 addresses in the Manningham, West Bowling, and Heaton areas of the city as well as addresses in Heckmondwike and Dewsbury.’
      • ‘Living in London, he resided at several different addresses around the capital until his death.’
      • ‘A bitter row between the residents of some of Scotland's most upmarket addresses and city leaders intensified yesterday as a plan to put giant wheelie bins in their streets was plunged into chaos.’
      • ‘It was just one of those thing, you know, no contacts, nowhere to go, no address.’
      location, locality, place, situation, whereabouts
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A string of characters which identifies a destination for email messages or the location of a website.
      • ‘References are made to the recipient's domain name and email address to give the message the smack of authenticity.’
      • ‘Whitelists, for example, search character strings to identify legitimate e-mail addresses.’
      • ‘Webmasters can now identify and block robots that harvest email addresses from their websites.’
      • ‘It only covers personal e-mail accounts, which means it will still be legal for a company to send unsolicited commercial messages to corporate email addresses.’
      • ‘Customers are also able to send photo messages to email addresses.’
    3. 1.3 A binary number which identifies a particular location in a data storage system or computer memory.
      • ‘Rather then knowing the various memory addresses, or offsets, needed to compromise systems, a single offset could work, Lynn said.’
      • ‘The rest of the boxes are flagged with the memory address of the cache line they contain.’
      • ‘The tags are examined and mapped back into the display memory addresses and only those rows or columns containing changed data are transferred to the data stream for display.’
      • ‘The flash memory controller is used to control data access and specify an address of data storage.’
      • ‘Thereby, the necessity for increasing the memory capacity can be avoided to secure empty addresses in the memory region, and furthermore, control can be simplified.’
  • 2A formal speech delivered to an audience.

    ‘delivered an address to the National Council of Teachers’
    • ‘He was delivering the feature address at a Lake Asphalt seminar at Cara Suites Hotel in Claxton Bay when he made the announcement.’
    • ‘This book is made up of four addresses delivered in India between 1999 and last year, plus one other of uncertain date.’
    • ‘I delivered my address to about 50 women as they ate breakfast and smiled appropriately at my remarks.’
    • ‘This would be her last public address as head of the woman suffrage movement.’
    • ‘He delivered a pithy address on old England sports.’
    • ‘He represented the US at a major public event in Battenberg Square in honour of the anniversary and delivered an address.’
    • ‘The quote that is allegedly from George Washington's farewell address is also a complete forgery.’
    • ‘This article is adapted from an address delivered at the Naval War College on 8 May 2001.’
    • ‘The closing address will be delivered by the Head of the School of Business at the Waterford Institute.’
    • ‘It was a competent address, cleanly delivered, but it was hardly an exercise in high octane oratory.’
    • ‘The address, suited to the climate of 2002, was given by a well-known human rights activist.’
    • ‘The Dalai Lama will also deliver an address to MSPs at the Scottish parliament during his tour, which begins in late May.’
    • ‘He said not only were staff members and the board of directors present, but the prime minister had delivered the feature address.’
    • ‘He was at the university to deliver an address on foreign policy, after which he was asked about the embargo by a student.’
    • ‘He now faces a new challenge of explaining his vision to the country and to the world in his second inaugural address.’
    • ‘He was there in his capacity as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science to deliver addresses in Melbourne and in Sydney.’
    • ‘A chapel beside the ruins of the World Trade Centre was the place chosen by New York's outgoing mayor to deliver his farewell address yesterday.’
    • ‘The trial judge and the Crown Prosecutor were both of the opinion, after all the evidence and all the addresses, that the issue was alive for the jury's consideration.’
    • ‘Other CPA officials I talked to said they had no knowledge of him delivering a farewell address.’
    • ‘As he delivered his address, you could almost whisper the caveats.’
    speech, lecture, talk, monologue, dissertation, discourse, oration, peroration
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1archaic A person's manner of speaking to someone else.
      ‘his address was abrupt and unceremonious’
    2. 2.2addressesarchaic Courteous or amorous approaches to someone.
      ‘he persecuted her with his addresses’
      • ‘In 1645 he was reported to be taking serious steps to carry out his views on divorce by paying his addresses to ‘a very handsome and witty gentlewoman’.’
      • ‘She is prevented by motives of delicacy from accepting the renewal of his addresses.’
      • ‘In 1849 one was reproved for paying addresses to an unconverted woman.’
      • ‘He became so unreasonably importunate in his addresses to the daughter of one of the clergymen of Aberdeen, that it was found necessary to put him under restraint.’
      • ‘The husband dying soon after this connection, Stanley became more at liberty to pay his addresses to the widow.’
      courtship, wooing, courting, addresses, attentions, homage, pursuit
      View synonyms
  • 3dated Skill, dexterity, or readiness.

    ‘he rescued me with the most consummate address’
    • ‘He conducted his search with considerable address, but everywhere he received the same reply.’
    • ‘Ten years later he conducted, with considerable address, the combined operations which led to the capture of Toulon.’
    • ‘William extricated himself from his difficulty with considerable address.’
    • ‘She did so with admirable address--sometimes playfully, sometimes coldly, sometimes firmly, always kindly; yet with all this tact the repeated checks made Pinder cross now and then.’
    skill, skilfulness, ability, capability, proficiency, expertise, expertness, mastery, talent, genius, artistry, art, craftsmanship, craft
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1Write the name and address of the intended recipient on (an envelope, letter, or package)

    ‘I addressed my letter to him personally’
    • ‘The envelope was correctly addressed and had a first class stamp.’
    • ‘I have spent the last couple of days bundling up parcels and addressing envelopes.’
    • ‘Depending upon the size of the mailing, consider hiring some high school kids you know to address the envelopes.’
    • ‘He received the incorrectly addressed letters due to a clerical error.’
    • ‘If the quantity is manageable, have someone address the envelopes for you.’
    • ‘The envelope was addressed to me but on the letter itself there was no welcome, no Dear Emma, nor was it signed.’
    • ‘The council believes up to 300 wrongly addressed envelopes slipped through the net.’
    • ‘Some time later I finished my letter, put it in an envelope, sealed and addressed it.’
    • ‘Now she may never see the photos or read what was in the lovingly addressed letter her grandmother had sent.’
    • ‘Handwriting which is used to address the envelopes is fluent, naturally written and not disguised, according to forensic experts.’
    • ‘Graham wrote the card and addressed the envelope, and I pulled out my trusty little pencam.’
    • ‘She picked up her pen, finished addressing the envelope in front of her and added it to the pile of invitations to be sent out.’
    • ‘When you get an incorrectly addressed letter you can return it to the sender without ever seeing what's inside.’
    • ‘I enclosed a stamped, addressed, envelope so they could send me a receipt for the payment.’
    • ‘The website doesn't mention whether you need to enclose a stamped, addressed envelope but best be on the safe side.’
    • ‘Please include a stamped and addressed envelope with your letter requesting an application form.’
    • ‘For them, the mere thought of finding a stamp, addressing a letter, and dropping it in a mailbox is challenging.’
    • ‘The letter was addressed to my wife but it was meant for both of us.’
    • ‘If you would like to receive a reply then please enclose a stamped, addressed envelope with your letters.’
    • ‘He has contacted 150 people telling them about the application and to whom to address their letters.’
    label, direct, inscribe, superscribe
    send, direct, post, mail, communicate, convey, forward, remit
    View synonyms
  • 2Speak to (a person or an assembly), typically in a formal way.

    ‘she addressed an audience of the most important Shawnee chiefs’
    ‘they addressed themselves to my father’
    • ‘A panel of speakers will address the audience and this will be followed by a question and answer session.’
    • ‘She was addressing delegates at the council's annual conference in Castlebar.’
    • ‘Three groups were allowed to address the assembled students.’
    • ‘Just as a public debater primarily addresses the audience and not the opponent, remember that others are watching and listening.’
    • ‘When we speak, he addresses me like a slightly harried father chivvying a child.’
    • ‘I don't know or care who started it, but you do not address people in that manner in my classroom, in my hearing or out of it.’
    • ‘In this sense, the film addresses its audience in the form of a lecture or a political broadcast, yet in a highly innovative manner.’
    • ‘Earlier, addressing the students, he spoke about the need to protect the environment and the hazards of pollution.’
    • ‘They are both expected to address the assembled guests and students of the School.’
    • ‘Why doesn't she have the courage to defend her economic convictions when addressing a general audience?’
    • ‘The person obviously wasn't addressing him, but speaking to someone else.’
    • ‘After the lapse of some time, Sharpe rose to address the meeting, speaking in a low, soft tone, that his voice might not be heard beyond the walls of the building.’
    • ‘Since then, she has travelled across the world addressing anti-war conferences, meetings and rallies.’
    • ‘‘We don't address the president unless he speaks first,’ a member of the film crew had told me earlier.’
    • ‘Ian addressed the assembly on behalf of the students, speaking warmly and wittily of his time in the school.’
    • ‘Each will address the worldwide audience during the conference weekend.’
    • ‘Eric was encouraged to take the stage and address the assembled folk.’
    • ‘Right at the top of the hour, he'll be speaking from the White House, addressing the American people and the world.’
    • ‘Thank you for that magnificent speech yesterday, and it is my pleasure to ask you to address the assembled gathering.’
    • ‘The movement was interrupted by a monologue on the properties of water, delivered in the style of a lecturer addressing her students.’
    talk to, give a talk to, give an address to, speak to, make a speech to, lecture, give a lecture to, hold forth to, give a discourse to, give a dissertation to, give an oration to, declaim to
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1address someone as Name someone in a specified way when talking or writing.
      ‘she addressed my father as ‘Mr. Stevens’
      • ‘Although Okonkwo could never show emotion because that would be a sign of weakness, he was fond of Ikemefuna and the boy began addressing Okonkwo as father.’
      • ‘I really liked saying her name but she had addressed me as Mr. Taylor so maybe I thought I should keep some what of a professional air about me.’
      • ‘Instead of being called ‘Master’ by his disciples, he is addressed as ‘Rabbi.’’
      • ‘But I yearn to know the sweetness of that first moment Jonathan addresses me as ‘wife.’’
      • ‘‘Well, how very rude of you, young man,’ said a voice, addressing him as if he were an adolescent.’
      • ‘In 1787 he met Mrs M'Lehose, with whom he corresponded at length in high-flown terms, addressing her as ‘Clarinda’, signing himself ‘Sylvander’.’
      • ‘It took Anna a while to even get Nancy to call her by her name instead of addressing her as ‘your highness’.’
      • ‘Despite telling them her name, they address her as Bridey or Molly.’
      • ‘It could be funny and a touch mischievous - one self-regarding, supposedly glamorous female TV anchor frostily asked her to desist from addressing her as ‘ma'am’ during a live interview.’
      • ‘Provided the subjects were male, regardless of age, they were addressed as ‘Father’.’
      • ‘An Episcopal female bishop was also present, and the archbishop was criticized by conservative Catholics for addressing her as ‘Bishop.’’
      • ‘In several passages in Matthew disciples call Jesus ‘Lord’, and in six places in Luke Jesus is addressed as ‘master’, a word not found in the other gospels.’
      • ‘As everyone in Charlottesville was addressed as ‘Mister,’ I asked: ‘Mr. Buchanan, could you give us a few suggestions about what you are looking for in this essay?’’
      • ‘According to one of her two self-published booklets, Jesus appears frequently to her, addressing her as ‘My suffering soul, ‘‘My sweet petal, ‘and ‘My child ‘.’’
      • ‘The phone book is alphabetized by first names, and a man named Sitha Sisana would be addressed as Mr. Sitha.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Joss was scolded by her mom for addressing President Bush as ‘George’.’
      • ‘Because he was so often referred to in pompous tones as ‘the eminent historian and biographer’, I would sometimes address him as: ‘Dear eminence.’’
      • ‘But when they are addressed as ‘honey’, ‘my child’, ‘darling’ and so on, their fondness towards her doubles.’
      • ‘Often, as in the US services, they are addressed as ‘chaplain’ (‘Padre’ in the British army) though they may hold a variety of commissioned ranks.’
      greet, hail, salute, speak to, write to, talk to, make conversation with, approach
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2address something to Say or write remarks or a protest to (someone)
      ‘address your complaints to the Board of Review’
      • ‘She looked at Rowena; a lot of her remarks were addressed to Rowena, who was the only person who reliably answered.’
      • ‘But that's not the crowd that I'm addressing my remarks to.’
      • ‘Elderly people are pushed out of the way and if any remarks are addressed to them, the language is shameful.’
      • ‘In addition to the scholarly work of the study, he wrote Horace's Compromise to address its findings to a broader audience.’
      • ‘He kind of answers it, but doesn't bother looking at me or addressing his comments to me.’
      • ‘Meanwhile the doctors addressed their concerns to both the committee and the ministry.’
      • ‘You should contact the estate agent and ask to whom you should address your letter of complaint.’
      • ‘Unusually, harking back to The Burns And Allen Show the key characters in Love & War directly addressed comments to the camera while others around them were oblivious to ‘the fourth wall’.’
      • ‘It is worth noting that he has called on protesters to address their protests to him, yet he refused to see two Gulf War veterans who wanted to hand their medals back to him.’
      • ‘‘The workers have to address their demands to the management of Tripatra directly, not Caltex,’ he said.’
      • ‘I want to address some remarks to him, and I hope he is listening to this debate.’
      • ‘Unable to see who had spoken I addressed my remarks to the whole crowd.’
      • ‘I think you need to address those remarks to him.’
      • ‘If he wanted to make his speech in order, he should have addressed his remarks to you, then said that the remarks he was making to you would be of interest to Maori.’
      • ‘The remarks were addressed to her since she was present at the time and must have been recognised by the judge having appeared before him on earlier interlocutory applications.’
      • ‘Another writer addressed a letter to the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, regarding civil proceedings between Baker and Walter Winchell, well-known newsman and broadcaster.’
      • ‘He said he had not addressed the remark to the inspector but to someone beside him.’
      • ‘They should be addressing their messages to the bulk of the American public that is unaware of the consequences of US foreign policy, not to each other.’
      aim, point, level
      View synonyms
  • 3Think about and begin to deal with (an issue or problem)

    ‘a fundamental problem has still to be addressed’
    • ‘The second half of this book, once the history has been dealt with, addresses the problems of the present, issue by issue.’
    • ‘The good news is that we have already begun to address the problem.’
    • ‘A typical day begins with a staff meeting, where any issues and problems are addressed.’
    • ‘And that doesn't even begin to address the problem itself.’
    • ‘What treatment may address is his ability to control his conduct.’
    • ‘Fortunately, recent studies have begun to address these important issues.’
    • ‘How do we begin to address the issue of vandalism?’
    • ‘Have the Government begun to address these problems in its recent Green paper?’
    • ‘The second issue addresses whether techniques employed in a research or university laboratory can be transferred to a clinical setting.’
    • ‘Crew resource management is used in aviation and addresses issues such as flattening the hierarchy.’
    • ‘Could you do with a helping hand in beginning to address these issues?’
    • ‘On the whole, general comments now became longer and more analytical, and they began to address difficult issues of interpretation.’
    • ‘To begin addressing these social problems, international volunteers have arrived in Ethiopia.’
    • ‘This bill addresses second-tier application issues, such as defining the territorial scope of investment adviser law received or given in New Zealand.’
    • ‘He is a director on the boards of organisations that addresses social inclusion issues at local and national levels and has a good understanding of issues faced by the socially disadvantaged.’
    • ‘We need to gauge neighborhood support and address legitimate concerns.’
    • ‘But now, it seems, one publisher, at least, has begun to address the problem.’
    • ‘The report calls on the Department for Education to invest more money in refurbishment programmes and address pay levels for technicians.’
    • ‘A question we will need to address is whether we can teach and learn these skills.’
    • ‘Have his policies begun to seriously address the enormous problems facing our nation?’
    attend to, tackle, see to, deal with, confront, grapple with, attack, buckle down to, get to grips with, embark on, settle down to, direct one's attention to, turn to, get down to, concentrate on, focus on, apply oneself to, devote oneself to
    View synonyms
  • 4Golf
    Take up one's stance and prepare to hit (the ball).

    • ‘That way, when I address the ball, the leaf or patch of grass is still in my peripheral vision and can remind me where my target is.’
    • ‘You can figure the bounce angle by addressing the ball on a hard flat surface.’
    • ‘Walk around to address the ball while keeping the marker in view.’
    • ‘That illustrates the importance of addressing the ball on the equator and keeping your stroke rhythmical.’
    • ‘First, I asked John to address the ball with his shoulders parallel to the target line.’
    take aim at, aim at, face
    View synonyms


  • form of address

    • A name or title used in speaking or writing to a person of a specified rank or function.

      ‘“Venerable” was the usual form of address for a priest at that time’
      • ‘Is ‘your royal highness’ the right form of address, or will a simple ‘ma'am’ suffice?’
      • ‘Respect was shown through the courteous use of forms of address when talking to strangers, persons of authority, and anyone in an age group higher than one's own.’
      • ‘Every language has its subconscious cues, such as rank and forms of address, which are often reflective of the social order that speaks it.’
      • ‘These originally polite titles are now used as intimate forms of address between a couple.’
      • ‘Alas, the sole solution appears to be the awful sounding ‘Ms’, which sounds a bit like a mosquito's whine rather than a form of address.’
      • ‘Adults use first names and informal forms of address (such as tu rather than vous) only with people they know well, such as close friends or relatives.’
      • ‘I have learnt the correct forms of address for archdukes and archbishops.’
      • ‘Those who refused to call each other ‘citizen’ rather than the deferential ‘Monsieur’, and to use the familiar form of address, fell under automatic suspicion.’
      • ‘In the beginning, the term ‘luv’ was a common form of address to me.’
      • ‘Sure enough, the job description calls for the Protocol director to handle such essential national duties as keeping the titles and correct forms of address for visiting dignitaries straight.’
      • ‘I should pause to explain this familiar form of address: as long as I can remember, I have called my father ‘George,’ and as long as I can remember my friends have thought this odd.’
      • ‘They refused to use honorific titles and deferential forms of address such as your excellency, my lord, because they were not literally true.’
      • ‘He insisted on grander forms of address.’
      • ‘‘Mister,’ he says again, and it feels to him like the right form of address.’
      • ‘In the American South, the title Miz is spoken with a woman's first name as a respectful, but semi-familiar, form of address.’
      • ‘By the 16th cent., the usual form of address had moved from ‘Your Grace’ or ‘Your Highness’ to ‘Your Majesty’.’
      • ‘Indeed, it is understandable why health care staff dealing with anxious patients should employ friendly forms of address in order to put them at ease.’
      • ‘It is a form of address that conveys both respect and intimacy; it was once used for men and rulers, but now it has strong feminine connotations.’
      • ‘Degrees of difference within the caste hierarchy were also marked by forms of address, seating arrangements, and other practices of deference and superiority.’
      • ‘According to Patsy, it would be difficult for Mary, as a commoner, to make the jump into royalty as she'd have to learn the correct protocol for all sorts of things, from cutlery to forms of address.’
      title, denomination, honorific, label
      View synonyms


Middle English (as a verb in the senses ‘set upright’ and ‘guide, direct’, hence ‘write directions for delivery on’ and ‘direct spoken words to’): from Old French, based on Latin ad- ‘towards’ + directus (see direct). The noun is of mid 16th-century origin in the sense ‘act of approaching or speaking to someone’.