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Definition: 1the state of being close to someone or something; proximity; nearness 2: affiliation

Pronunciation: pro-PINK-witty

 Origin: This word goes way back, so far back its original language is dead. The word was originally Latin,propinquitas, from propinquus meaning ‘neighbouring.’  The word survived to Old French, propinquité, and English borrowed and Anglicized sometime in the past millennia.

 Why this word:

 “Propinquity” has found its way back into the spotlight thanks to the recent media explosion over an extramarital affair between a certain US 4-Star General at the top of his game and his biographer. It’s a great word to describe the closeness you have with another person with whom you find yourself spending a lot of time. This famous affair gives the word a bad connotation, but I’ve formed a lot of great friendships because of work propinquity!

 How to use propinquity?

 The most famous use of the word is by Sir Ian Fleming in the James Bond novel Diamonds are Forever, a character tells Bond, “Nothing propinks like propinquity.” American Diplomat George Ball appropriated that phrase to explain that no matter how high your position in the government, your power is determined by how much direct access you have to the President.

This is a great word to use in a pick-up line at work if the person you’re trying to pick-up is impressed by a first-rate vocabulary:

 “You know, Janet, pessimists could look at our propinquity and say familiarity breeds contempt, but every moment I spend with you makes me like you more and more.” 

“If it weren’t for propinquity, Laura Winslow would have never fallen in love with Steve Urkel.”


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Written by Safia Dirie

Safia M. Dirie is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. Her dream is that every human English speaker on Earth has enough vocabulary words that "thing," "stuff," and the phrase "You know?" become obsolete.


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