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1. To physically surround, encircle, or approach someone or something. As the opposing troops closed in on us, I knew we would never win the battle.
2. To trap or confine someone or something in a particular space. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "in." The blizzard has closed us in, unfortunately, and we won't even be able to go skiing.
3. To approach very quickly or become imminent, as of a deadline.
4. To overwhelm or engulf someone, as of emotions.
close someone or something in (something)
to contain someone or something in something or some place; to seal someone or something inside something. Don't close the bird in such a small cage. Don't close me in! Leave the door open.
close in(on someone or something)
1. Lit. to move inward on someone or something. The cops were closing in on the thugs. They closed in quietly and trapped the bear.
2. Fig. [for threats or negative feelings] to overwhelm or seem to surround someone or something. My problems are closing in on me. I feel trapped. Everything is closing in.
1. Surround, enclose, envelop, as in The fog closed in and we couldn't see two yards in front of us, or She felt the room was closing in. [c. 1400]
2. Also, close in on or upon . Draw in, approach, as in The police closed in on the suspect. [Early 1800s]
1. To surround and advance on a person or thing: The police located the escaped prisoner and closed in. Scientists closed in on the cause of the disease.
2. To appear to be coming in from all sides: Problems of every sort are closing in on me.
3. To be about to occur; be imminent: We had better hurry, the deadline is closing in.