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to come near or nearer to:
The cars slowed down as they approached the intersection.
to come near to in quality, character, time, or condition; to come within range for comparison:
As a poet he hardly approaches Keats.
to present, offer, or make a proposal or request to:
to approach the president with a suggestion.
to begin work on; set about:
to approach a problem.
to make advances to; address.
to bring near to something.
to come nearer; draw near:
A storm is approaching.
to come near in character, time, amount, etc.; approximate.
the act of drawing near:
the approach of a train.
nearness or close approximation:
a fair approach to accuracy.
any means of access, as a road or ramp:
the approaches to a city.
the method used or steps taken in setting about a task, problem, etc.:
His approach to any problem was to prepare an outline.
the course to be followed by an aircraft in approaching for a landing or in joining a traffic pattern:
The plane’s approach to the airport was hazardous.
Sometimes, approaches. a presentation, offer, or proposal.
approaches, Military. works for protecting forces in an advance against a fortified position.
Also called approach shot. Golf. a stroke made after teeing off, by which a player attempts to get the ball onto the putting green.

the steps taken and the manner employed in delivering the ball:
He favors a four-step approach.
Also called runway. the area behind the foul line, from which the ball is delivered.

Contemporary Examples

He adds that AIS “knows there are two levels of approach to this” and has different therapies for children and adults.
A Star-Studded Gala for Stuttering Andrew Carter June 7, 2011

This approach should not be condemned; it should be expanded upon.
We Need More Ferguson-style Grand Juries Kaimipono Wenger November 29, 2014

The GOP approach, by the way, would leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured, which translates into unnecessary deaths.
Obama’s Health Care Wimp Out Kirsten Powers January 16, 2011

Phelps approach to sharing “good news” was always dogmatic, extreme, and seemingly void of humanity.
Fred Phelps May Be Dead, But His Fundamentalist God Lives Matthew Paul Turner March 22, 2014

This is the Finland approach as suggested by both Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger.
Cut the Baloney on Ukraine Leslie H. Gelb March 8, 2014

Historical Examples

I tell you, we would be in a tight place if they’d guarded this approach at all.
The Boy Scout Automobilists Robert Maitland

But she could not help smiling, so evident was it that he simply wished to approach her.
The Dream Emile Zola

His approach to Melcher had been dramatic, terrifying, effective.
Gladiator Philip Wylie

They are “safe, because they are too filthy to handle, and too noisome even to approach.”
The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill

On the approach of the duke of Savoy he removed to Basel in 1579.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 13, Slice 7 Various

to come nearer in position, time, quality, character, etc, to (someone or something)
(transitive) to make advances to, as with a proposal, suggestion, etc
(transitive) to begin to deal with: to approach a problem
(transitive) (rare) to cause to come near
the act of coming towards or drawing close or closer
a close approximation
the way or means of entering or leaving; access
(often pl) an advance or overture to a person
a means adopted in tackling a problem, job of work, etc
Also called approach path. the course followed by an aircraft preparing for landing

c.1300, from Anglo-French approcher, Old French aprochier “approach, come closer” (12c., Modern French approcher), from Late Latin appropiare “go nearer to,” from Latin ad- “to” (see ad-) + Late Latin propiare “come nearer,” comparative of Latin prope “near” (see propinquity). Replaced Old English neahlæcan.

mid-15c., from approach (v.). Figurative sense of “means of handling a problem, etc.” is first attested 1905.


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  • Approach shot

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    capable of being ; accessible. (of a person) easy to meet, know, talk with, etc. Contemporary Examples She dressed for the job to which she aspired, but balanced polish with approachability. Iowa’s Candidates Would Be Egged at Fashion Week Robin Givhan January 4, 2012 Historical Examples Was not his unwonted self-defence itself admission of new […]

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