noun \ˈinch\

Definition of INCH

:  a unit of length equal to 136 yard — see weight table
:  a small amount, distance, or degree <is like cutting a dog's tail off by inches — Milton Friedman>
plural :  stature, height
a :  a fall (as of rain or snow) sufficient to cover a surface or to fill a gauge to the depth of one inch
b :  a degree of atmospheric or other pressure sufficient to balance the weight of a column of liquid (as mercury) one inch high in a barometer or manometer
:  a small advantage especially from lenient or compassionate treatment —usually used in the phrase give an inch
every inch
:  to the utmost degree <looks every inch a winner>
inch by inch
:  very gradually or slowly
within an inch of
:  almost to the point of <came within an inch of succeeding>

Origin of INCH

Middle English, from Old English ynce, from Latin uncia — more at ounce
First Known Use: before 12th century



: to move very slowly or by a small amount in a specified direction or manner

Full Definition of INCH

intransitive verb
:  to move by small degrees :  progress slowly <the long line of people inching up the stairs>
transitive verb
:  to cause to move slowly <sooner or later they begin inching prices back up — Forbes>

Examples of INCH

  1. We inched along in heavy traffic.
  2. As she neared the finish line, she inched ahead of the other racers.
  3. Gas prices are inching up again.
  4. I inched the car into the garage.

First Known Use of INCH




Definition of INCH

chiefly Scottish
:  island

Origin of INCH

Middle English (Scots), from Scottish Gaelic innis
First Known Use: 15th century


noun \ˈinch\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of INCH

: a unit of length equal to 136 yard or 2.54 centimeters


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Unit of measure equal to 1/36 yard and since 1959 defined officially as 2.54 cm (see metre). David I of Scotland (c. 1150) defined the inch as the breadth of a man's thumb at the base of the nail; usually the thumb breadths of three men—one small, one medium, and one large—were added and then divided by three. During the reign of England's Edward II, the inch was defined as “three grains of barley, dry and round, placed end to end lengthwise.” At various times it has also been defined as the combined lengths of 12 poppy seeds. See also foot; International System of Units; measurement; metric system.


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