Word of the Day: narrow

 
 
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Word Reference
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Word of the Day
 
December 11, 2015
 
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narrow (adjective, verb) sound LISTEN icon
 
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A narrow street.
 
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Narrow is an adjective that means 'small in width' or 'limited in extent.' In reference to a person or to someone's mind or ideas, it means 'limited and not willing to consider others.' It also means 'close and with little margin for error.' As a verb, narrow means 'to make or become less wide,' or 'to limit.'
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Example sentences
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You have to go through a long, narrow hallway to get to Claudia's apartment.
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This study was performed on only a narrow sample of people, so many scientists don't trust the results.
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Ben is a man of narrow ideas; he won't even go on vacation because he thinks there is nothing different to see in other places.
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It was a narrow escape, but I managed to run away from the thief.
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The road narrowed toward the end and there was space for only one car.
 
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Multi-word forms
 

Narrow down is a very common phrasal verb that means 'to reduce the number of options in order to make a decision': "Could we narrow down the list of candidates to just the best three?"

Narrow-minded is an adjective used to refer to someone who is intolerant and not willing to consider the views of others: "The teacher is so narrow-minded! I suggested writing an essay for the final, but he wants to stick to the same multiple-choice test he's always used."

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Did you know?
 
Narrow is also a noun meaning 'a narrow place' or 'the narrowest part of something.' These days, it is mainly used to refer to the narrow part of a river and is usually in the plural: "George steered the boat through the narrows."
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Other forms
 
narrowness (noun), narrowly (adverb)
Origin
 
Narrow dates back to before 900 and comes from the Old English word nearu. It is similar to the Old Saxon word naru, meaning 'narrow,' and the Dutch word naar, meaning 'unpleasant.'
 
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