1. Direct or immediate: "The stock market crash in October, 1929 ... is often regarded as ... the major proximate cause of the Great Depression" (Milton Friedman). "The proximate cause of America's deficits is that Washington has dramatically cut the taxes of America's rich" (Eamonn Fingleton).
2. Very near or next, as in space, time, or order. See Synonyms at close.
[Latin proximātus, past participle of proximāre, to come near, from proximus, nearest; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.