close (v.)

(klōz), c. 1200, "to shut, cover in," from Old French clos- (past participle stem of clore "to shut, to cut off from"), 12c., from Latin clausus, past participle of claudere "to shut, close; to block up, make inaccessible; put an end to; shut in, enclose, confine" (always -clusus, -cludere in compounds), from PIE root *klau- "hook," also "peg, nail, pin," all things used as locks or bolts in primitive structures.

Also partly from Old English beclysan "close in, shut up." Intransitive sense "become shut" is from late 14c. Meaning "draw near to" is from 1520s. Intransitive meaning "draw together, come together" is from 1550s, hence the idea in military verbal phrase close ranks (mid-17c.), later with figurative extensions. Meaning "bring to an end, finish" is from c. 1400; intransitive sense "come to an end" is from 1826. Of stock prices, from 1860. Meaning "bring together the parts of" (a book, etc.) is from 1560s. Related: Closed; closing.

close (adj.)

(klōs), late 14c., "strictly confined," also "secret," in part a past-participle adjective from close (v.), in part from Old French clos "confined; concealed, secret; taciturn" (12c.), from Latin clausus "close, reserved," past-participle adjective from claudere "stop up, fasten, shut" (see close (v.)). The main sense shifted to "near" (late 15c.) from the verbal sense of "close the gap or opening between two things." Related: Closely.

In English, the meaning "narrowly confined, pent up" is from late 14c. The meaning "near" in a figurative sense, of persons, is from 1560s. The sense of "full of attention to detail" is from 1660s. The sense of "stingy, penurious" is from 1650s. Of races or other contests, by 1855.

Close call "narrow escape" is from 1866, in a quotation in an anecdote from 1863, possibly a term from the American Civil War; close shave in the figurative sense is 1820, American English. Close range (n.) "a short distance" is from 1814. Close-minded is attested from 1818. Close-fisted "penurious, miserly" is from c. 1600, on the notion of "keeping the hands tightly shut."

close (n.)

(klōz), late 14c., "act of closing, conclusion, termination," from close (v.). Also in early use "enclosure, enclosed space" (late 13c.), from Old French clos, noun use of the past participle. Specifically in music, "conclusion of a strain or passage," 1590s.

close (adv.)

(klōs), "tightly, with no opening or space between," late 14c., from close (adj.).

updated on October 18, 2022