In topology, a subset A of a topological space X is called nowhere dense (in X) if there is no neighborhood in X on which A is dense. For example, the integers form a nowhere dense subset of the real line R.
A subset A of a topological space X is nowhere dense in X if and only if the interior of the closure of A is empty. The order of operations is important. For example, the set of rational numbers, as a subset of R has the property that the closure of the interior is empty, but it is not nowhere dense; in fact it is dense in R.
The surrounding space matters: a set A may be nowhere dense when considered as a subspace of a topological space X but not when considered as a subspace of another topological space Y. A nowhere dense set is always dense in itself.
Every subset of a nowhere dense set is nowhere dense, and the union of finitely many nowhere dense sets is nowhere dense. That is, the nowhere dense sets form an ideal of sets, a suitable notion of negligible set. The union of countably many nowhere dense sets, however, need not be nowhere dense. (Thus, the nowhere dense sets need not form a sigmaideal.) Instead, such a union is called a meagre set or a set of first category. The concept is important to formulate the Baire category theorem.
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Open and closed
 A nowhere dense set need not be closed (for instance, the set is nowhere dense in the reals), but is contained in a nowhere dense closed set, namely its closure. Indeed, a set is nowhere dense if and only if its closure is nowhere dense.
 The complement of a closed nowhere dense set is a dense open set, and thus the complement of a nowhere dense set is a set with dense interior.
 The boundary of an open set is closed and nowhere dense.
 Every closed nowhere dense set is the boundary of an open set.
Nowhere dense sets with positive measure
A nowhere dense set is not necessarily negligible in every sense. For example, if X is the unit interval [0,1], not only is it possible to have a dense set of Lebesgue measure zero (such as the set of rationals), but it is also possible to have a nowhere dense set with positive measure.
For one example (a variant of the Cantor set), remove from [0,1] all dyadic fractions of the form a/2^{n} in lowest terms for positive integers a and n and the intervals around them [a/2^{n} − 1/2^{2n+1}, a/2^{n} + 1/2^{2n+1}]; since for each n this removes intervals adding up to at most 1/2^{n+1}, the nowhere dense set remaining after all such intervals have been removed has measure of at least 1/2 (in fact just over 0.535... because of overlaps) and so in a sense represents the majority of the ambient space [0,1].
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