- well-nighmeaning ‘nearly, almost wholly or entirely’, has been in continuous use since the Old English period but is now usually regarded as literary or archaic in tone:
• If your country is the size of a postage stamp, your population is unsophisticated and your borders are well-nigh indefensible, you need luck —Economist, 1992.
Modern English usage. 2014.
Look at other dictionaries:
well-nigh — O.E. wel neah, from WELL (Cf. well) (adv.) + NIGH (Cf. nigh) … Etymology dictionary
Well-nigh — adv. Almost; nearly. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
well-nigh — adv old fashioned almost ▪ It will be well nigh impossible to raise that amount of money … Dictionary of contemporary English
well-nigh — adverb INFORMAL nearly but not completely: It would be well nigh impossible to get there in less than an hour … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
well-nigh — *nearly, almost, approximately … New Dictionary of Synonyms
well-nigh — well′ nigh′ adv. very nearly; almost • Etymology: bef. 1150 … From formal English to slang
well-nigh — ► ADVERB chiefly literary ▪ almost … English terms dictionary
well-nigh — [wel′nī′] adv. very nearly; almost … English World dictionary
well-nigh — also well nigh ADV: ADV adj Well nigh means almost, but not completely or exactly. Finding a rug that s just the colour, size and price you want can be well nigh impossible. ...a hierarchical structure that was well nigh unassailable. Syn:… … English dictionary
well-nigh — adverb BrE formal or AmE almost, but not quite: The company has existed for well nigh 200 years. | well nigh impossible: Getting them to agree would be well nigh impossible … Longman dictionary of contemporary English