General English

  • adjective very close to or almost touching something


  • adjective directly in front of the wicket when hit on the pads, and therefore liable to be given out lbw. This cricketing use of ‘adjacent’ – first popularised by Tony Grieg in his TV commentaries – is a somewhat counter-intuitive extension of its more normal meaning of ‘next to’ or ‘adjoining’.


Origin & History of “adjacent”

Adjacent and adjective come from the same source, the Latin verb jacere ‘throw’. The intransitive form of this, jacēre, literally ‘be thrown down’, was used for ‘lie’. with the addition of the prefix ad-, here in the sense ‘near to’, was created adjacēre, ‘lie near’. Its present participial stem, adjacent-, passed, perhaps via French, into English.

The ordinary Latin transitive verb jacere, meanwhile, was transformed into adjicere by the addition of the prefix ad-; it meant literally ‘throw to’, and hence ‘add’ or ‘attribute’, and from its past participial stem, adject-, was formed the adjective adjectīvus. This was used in the phrase nomen adjectīvus ‘attributive noun’, which was a direct translation of Greek ónoma épithetos. And when it first appeared in English (in the 14th century, via Old French adjectif) it was in noun adjective, which remained the technical term for ‘adjective’ into the 19th century. Adjective was not used as a noun in its own right until the early 16th century.