Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Vicinity


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is vicinity. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Vicinity is often used as a synonym of neighborhood meaning “the area around or near a particular place.” It can also mean “the quality or state of being near” or “an approximate amount, extent, or degree.”

// They’re looking at houses in the vicinity of the town’s only elementary school.

// She lives in Los Angeles, or somewhere in that vicinity.

// They anticipate grant funding in the vicinity of fifty thousand dollars.

VICINITY in Context

“The base is off limits to civilians, but soldiers in various uniforms were the main customers at several cafes, fast food joints and a convenience store in the vicinity.” — Valerie Hopkins Nanna Heitmann, The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2023

Did You Know?

Howdy, neighbor! Today we cozy up to vicinity, a word with neighborly origins that was welcomed into English as a French import in the 16th century from Middle French vicinité. It comes ultimately from Latin vicus, meaning “row of houses” or “village,” by way of Latin vicinus, meaning “neighboring.” Other descendants of vicinus in English include vicinal (a synonym of local) and vicinage, a synonym of vicinity in the sense of “a neighboring or surrounding district.” Both of these are formal and rare, but vicinage is notable for giving title to the Vicinage Clause, a segment of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution that entitles an accused person to “an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law.”

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