Etymology
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nearly (adv.)

1530s, "carefully," 1570s, "close at hand, in close proximity;" see near + -ly (2). Meaning "almost, all but, within a little of" is from 1680s.

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Definitions of nearly

nearly (adv.)
(of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but;
he nearly fainted
Synonyms: about / almost / most / near / nigh / virtually / well-nigh
nearly (adv.)
in a close manner;
the person most nearly concerned
Synonyms: closely / intimately
From wordnet.princeton.edu