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デジタル大辞泉 says 遠く is a noun which means 遠いところ. So yes, it was somehow nominalized and lexicalized in this form long ago. At least we can say 遠くから来る, 遠くに行く, 遠くへ行く, 遠くを見つめる, 遠くで音がする, 遠くの国, 遠くがよく見える, and so on. 近く works in the same way. The list of similar expressions is very small, according to this article. Here's the list: 古く (old time), 早く (early time), 遅く ...



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