When something nearly happens, it comes very close to occurring, but doesn't. Nearly is a useful adverb for describing things that are almost accomplished.

If you and your brother nearly win the three-legged race, you lose by a matter of seconds. And, if you nearly drop your dog's leash at a busy intersection, your heart might pound from the closeness of your best pal's brush with danger. An interesting detail about nearly is that it nearly ended up with a different meaning: until the late 1600s, in fact, it meant "carefully."

Definitions of nearly
  1. adverb
    (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
  2. adverb
    in a close manner
    “the person most nearly concerned”
    synonyms: closely, intimately
Word Family

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