"nearest in place, position, rank, or turn," Middle English nexte, from Old English niehsta, nyhsta (West Saxon), nesta (Anglian) "nearest in position or distance, closest in kinship," superlative of neah (West Saxon), neh (Anglian) "nigh;" from Proto-Germanic *nekh- "near" + superlative suffix *-istaz. Cognate with Old Norse næstr, Dutch naast "next," Old High German nahisto "neighbor," German nächst "next."
In reference to time by c. 1200. Adverbial ("next to, immediately after; almost, within a little of") and prepositional ("nearest to, immediately adjacent to") uses are from c. 1200. Phrase the next man "a typical person" is from 1857. Next-best "second best" is by 1670s.
1810, from pitch (v.1) + toss (v.).
A game in which the players pitch coins at a mark, that one whose coin lies nearest to the mark having the privilege of tossing up all the coins together and retaining all the coins that come down " head " up. The next nearest player tosses those that are left, and retains all that come down "head" up, and so on until the coins are all gone. [Century Dictionary]
"nearness in place, time, or relation," late 15c., proxymyte [Caxton], from French proximité "nearness" (14c.), from Latin proximitatem (nominative proximitas) "nearness, vicinity," from proximus "nearest, next; most direct; adjoining," figuratively "latest, most recent; next, following; most faithful," superlative of prope "near" (see propinquity).