1

inch

noun \ ˈinch \

Definition of inch

1 :a unit of length equal to ¹/₃₆ yard — see Weights and Measures Table
2 :a small amount, distance, or degree
  • is like cutting a dog's tail off by inches
  • —Milton Friedman
3 inches plural :stature, height
4 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 (such as mercury) one inch high in a barometer or manometer
5 :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

Did You Know?

The ancient Romans used a system of weights and measures based on units divided into 12 parts. Thus the Latin uncia, meaning “a 12th part,” designated the 12th part of a foot. From this is derived Old English ince or ynce and modern English inch. The Roman pound was also divided into 12 parts, similarly designated by the word uncia. In this sense uncia followed a different path and became Middle English unce or ounce, which was the 12th part of a pound in the troy system. In the avoirdupois system, which is more widely used, the pound is larger and equals 16 ounces. The English noun inch dates to before the 12th century; the verb meaning “to move very slowly” does not appear until around 1600.

Origin and Etymology of inch

Middle English, from Old English ynce, from Latin uncia — more at ounce


2

inch

verb

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 in a Sentence

  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

1599

inch Synonyms

Synonyms
creep, encroach, worm
Antonyms
fly, race, speed, whiz (or whizz), zip
Related Words
snake, sneak; entrench (also intrench), impinge, infringe, intrude, invade; overpass, overreach, overrun, overshoot, overstep
Near Antonyms
float, glide, sail; hurry, tear

3

inch

noun

Definition of inch

chiefly Scotland

Origin and Etymology of inch

Middle English (Scots), from Scottish Gaelic innis



INCH Defined for English Language Learners

inch

verb

Definition of inch for English Language Learners

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


INCH Defined for Kids

1

inch

noun \ ˈinch \

Definition of inch for Students

:a unit of length equal to ¹/₃₆ yard (2.54 centimeters)

2

inch

verb

Definition of inch for Students

inched; inching
:to move a little bit at a time We inched to the ticket counter.

Medical Dictionary

inch

noun \ ˈinch \

medical Definition of inch

:a unit of length equal to ¹/₃₆ yard or 2.54 centimeters


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