December 21, 2012
vicinity (noun)
\vuh-SIN-uh-tee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a surrounding area or district
How do you use it?
When the water pipe broke, all the streets in the vicinity of Main Street were closed to traffic.
Are you a word wiz?

Which one of these sentences do you think uses "vicinity" correctly?

You're in the right neighborhood if you picked D. Sentences A, B, and C use "vicinity" in ways that don't make sense, but sentence D correctly uses "vicinity" to mean "a surrounding area." Knowing the history of "vicinity" might help you to remember how to use it right. "Vicinity" came into English from French, but it traces all the way back to the Latin word "vicinus," meaning "neighboring." "Vicinus" derives from the Latin noun "vicus," meaning "row of houses" or "village." Not only do "vicinity" and "village" sound alike, they may also be distantly related.
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