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used in a sentence
3 meanings
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1  —as in:
approached the city
Definition to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
  • Winter is approaching.
approaching = getting nearer
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • I grew more nervous as the test approaches.
  • approaches = gets nearer (in time)
  • I was fast approaching manhood, and year after year had passed, and I was still a slave.
    Frederick Douglass  --  The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • approaching = getting close to
  • His twelfth birthday was approaching.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • approaching = getting near
  • When Peter turned and saw Cole approaching, he turned away.
    Ben Mikaeslen  --  Touching Spirit Bear
  • approaching = coming near
  • "My good Horse," said the Hermit, who had approached them unnoticed because his bare feet made so little noise on that sweet, dewy grass.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Horse and His Boy
  • approached = got near
  • Other soldiers approached his table at mess and asked permission to sit down.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Ender's Game
  • approached = went to
  • The thing approached the proportions of a scandal — then died away.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • approached = got near
  • And so no one had seen the approach of the five court messengers until they had come round the bend, a few paces from the edge of the crowd.
    Chinua Achebe  --  Things Fall Apart
  • approach = coming near
  • I approached this tremendous being; I dared not again raise my eyes to his face, there was something so scaring and unearthly in his ugliness.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
approached = moved toward

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list —®
2  —as in:
use the best approach
Definition a way of doing something; or a route that leads to a particular place
  • Perhaps I just need to work harder, but I may need an entirely different approach to the problem.
approach = method (way of doing something)
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • The approach to the cabin was covered with snow.
  • approach = path (that leads to a particular place)
  • She always approaches problems in a thoughtful manner.
  • approaches = does (something in a particular way)
  • Sentinels were placed at all the approaches to the farm.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • approaches = routes that lead to a particular place
  • I'd learned by then that a direct approach, 'By God, you better not try a stunt like that again!', didn't work with Chris.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • approach = technique (way of doing something)
  • Unable to choose between the two approaches, I decided to try both.
    Michael Pollan  --  The Omnivore's Dilemma
  • approaches = ways of doing something
  • Trying a new approach, he grabbed Alby's arms again and started dragging him along the ground.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
  • approach = technique (way of doing something)
  • He hoped to prove that science and religion are two totally compatible fields-two different approaches to finding the same truth.
    Dan Brown  --  Angels & Demons
  • approaches = ways of doing something
  • "Dr. Hammond," my mom said, and this time, Whitney rolled her eyes at his name, "says that this woman, Moira Bell, has had great success with many of his patients because she takes a different approach."
    Sarah Dessen  --  Just Listen
  • approach = route (way to achieving something)
  • When she had registered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service upon filing her green card application, Luma had been fingerprinted; her fingers were placed on an ink pad and carefully rolled over the card beneath. The woman at the Walton County jail had a different approach; she grabbed Luma's hand, inked her fingertips, and then slammed her hand down on the counter.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
approach = technique (way of doing something)

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list —®
3  —as in:
approached her with the proposal
Definition to begin communication with someone about something — often a proposal or a delicate topic
  • They approached her about becoming a member of the committee.
approached = began communication with
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • I approached three bankers about a loan and all said "No."
  • approached = began communication with
  • Teabing had approached the BBC with a proposal for a historical documentary in which he would expose the explosive history of the Holy Grail to a mainstream television audience.
    Dan Brown  --  The Da Vinci Code
  • approached = engaged in conversation
  • We approach a great man through his servants.
    Chinua Achebe  --  Things Fall Apart
  • approach = begin communication with
  • One of their neighbors was the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, and Walt approached this man, an army general, for advice.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • approached = began talking with
  • A favor could be called in by Andrey, a swap negotiated by Emile, and Audrius approached by the Count. Thus, the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth ingredients.
    Amor Towles  --  A Gentleman in Moscow
  • approached = to begin communication regarding a proposal
  • Almost all he can do is watch, in particular the SS guarding them, and he tries to work out who can be approached and who must be avoided.  He starts to talk occasionally to one of them.
    Heather Morris  --  The Tattooist of Auschwitz
  • approached = engaged in conversation
  • Miss Gordon says she believed her brother dead until last March, when the head of the psychology department at Beekman University approached her for permission to use Charlie in an experiment.
    Daniel Keyes  --  Flowers for Algernon — Novel
  • approached = began communicating (about a delicate topic) with
  • The thought occurred to Hester, that the child might really be seeking to approach her with childlike confidence, and doing what she could, and as intelligently as she knew how, to establish a meeting-point of sympathy.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The Scarlet Letter
  • approach = speak with someone about something for the first time
  • She decided to make her approach. Standing in front of Saeed's father she proceeded to talk animatedly with a friend while ignoring the object of her desire. He noticed her. He listened to her. He summoned the nerve to speak to her.
    Moshin Hamid  --  Exit West
approach = to begin communication with someone for the first time

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list —®
Less commonly:
More rarely (and typically only in classic literature), the phrase nearest approach to as used in "her nearest approach to an apology" or "her nearest approach to a smile" typically means that "something is as close to something else as it ever gets." "As near an approach to" can have a similar meaning.
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