As a verb, does the word "near" have a same meaning as "approach"?
"Neared" in this scenario means to get closer or, as you suggested, "to approach." We don't usually use "neared" in spoken English as it was used here. We use "getting closer" more often. "As Peter got closer to his grandfather's hut, the goat stood still." Ex: We are (getting closer to/nearing) the airport. Ex: She (got closer/neared) the timid dog.
Get more Native English Expressions >