Approach Synonym Guide — Definition, Antonyms & Examples

Approach means “to be in proximity to something.” The term also describes a way of dealing with a situation; an approach to a problem. Synonyms allow us some creativity in writing while improving our vocabulary. A synonym for approachis ‘go near.’ Other synonyms for the term will be explored in this article.

The Definition of Approach

Approach functions as a noun and a verb depending on context. The term originates from Middle English ‘approchen,’ ‘aprochen’ (“to come), also borrowed from Old French ‘approchier,’ ‘aprochier,’ and Late Latin ‘appropiāre,’‘adpropiāre.’

Approach as a noun

An approach is a route taken to address a problem or situation. i.e., ‘I don’t like your approach towards this situation.’ It also means an initial request made to someone, i.e., “the businessman made an approach to the supplier.”

  • Your approach to life is a bit disturbing.
  • That is a different approach, but I’m glad it worked.
  • I noticed his easy and slow approach to change.
  • This approach is almost surgical.
  • He’s taking a hazardous approach towards solving the problem.
  • Thompson’s approach has been very successful up to this time.
  • The police took a very cautious approach to find the mole.

Approach as a verb

‘Approach’ connotes continuously moving towards something, to be proximal to something. The word takes the following verb forms: simple present – approaches, present participle – approaching, simple past and past participle – approached.

  • The criminal intends to approach the judge for mercy.
  • Jake decided to approach the open building from the parking lot.
  • Nathan tried to approach the answer in a very visual fashion.
  • We were able to approach things more carefully.

Synonym for Approach — Exploring Words with Similar Meanings

The noun ‘approach’ has the following related terms: perspective, viewpoint, outlook, attitude, proposition, proposal, line of action, point of view, and submission.

Synonyms for the verb ‘approach’ include proceed towards, come/go towards, advance towards, nigh, draw on, come up, and arrive. Other related terms to ‘approach’ include coming, entry, approximate, reach, creep up, and sneak up.

1. Close

The word is originally borrowed from French ‘clos,’ andLatin’ clausum,’ participle of ‘claudō.’ It means to be at a little distance to something, in proximity with something.

  • They were close to signing the deal off.
  • Andrew was close to saying goodbye to the project.

2. Near

The term originates from Middle English’ nere, ner,’ andOld English’ nēar’. Near means “to move towards something, used in defining proximity.”

  • The near shore is characterized by low current.
  • We can see stars near the horizon.

3. Nigh

‘Nigh’ is from Old English’ nēah, nēh,’ and Proto-Germanic *nēhw. ‘Nigh’ defines proximity or a short distance between two entities.

  • The couple was excited because the night was drawing nigh.
  • Sarah drew nigh to the school when she realized she had forgotten her assignment.

4. Come

Come’ originates from Middle English’ comen, cumen,’ Old English’ cuman,’ Proto-West Germanic *kweman, and Proto-Germanic *kwemaną (“to come”). Come means “to move nearer to something, or approach a thing.”

  • Thompson was asked to come to reclaim his throne.
  • Julian decided to come forward for her piece finally.
  • When your eyes come into focus, a new world unfolds.

5. Advance

‘Advance’ originates from Anglo-Norman ‘avauncer, avancer, avancier’ (French avancer), and Vulgar Latin *abantiāre. Advance implies moving forward towards something.

  • The best way to advance is to track your progress.
  • You’ll need three years of experience to advance in your career.

Antonyms for Approach — Exploring Words with Opposite Meanings

1. Depart

‘Depart’ is from Old French’ departir,’ andLate Latin’ departiō’ (“to divide”). Depart means to go away or move out of, as in depart from.

  • The unit is scheduled to depart within 90 minutes.
  • The clergyman emphasized the need to depart from the ways of evil.

2. Exit

‘Exit’ is from Latin’ exitus’ (“departure, going out”), from ‘exeō’ (“to depart, exit”) + -tus (suffix forming action nouns from verbs). ‘Exit’ is an act of leaving or departing from a place.

  • The dancer’s entrance into the stage was as good as her exit.
  • Nathan made a quick exit when he saw Olivia arrive.

3. Leave

‘Leave’ originates from Middle English’ leven,’ Proto-West Germanic *laibijan, and Proto-Germanic *laibijaną (“to let stay, leave”). Leave means to go away from somewhere, to depart or separate from.

  • Michael forgot his leather coat because he was in a rush to leave.
  • Strive to be accessible in your speech, and leave all your family and friends happier.
person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

A synonym for approach is ‘go near.’ Others include nigh, draw on, and arrive. Antonyms for the term include “depart,” “exit,” and “leave.”

A thesaurus and dictionary can be valuable in learning other alternatives for the term.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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