inch·​meal | \ ˈinch-ˌmēl How to pronounce inchmeal (audio) , -ˈmēl \

Definition of inchmeal

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All the infections that the sun sucks up / From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him / By inch-meal a disease! So goes one of the curses the hated and hateful Caliban hurls in the direction of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest. The origin of "inchmeal" is simple; the "inch" half is the familiar measurement, and the "meal" is the suffix we know from the more common word piecemeal (which shares the "gradually" meaning of "inchmeal," and has several other meanings as well). "Meal" is an old suffix that means "by a (specified) portion or measure at a time"; it is related to the modern German word mal, meaning "time," as in the German word manchmal, meaning "sometimes."

Examples of inchmeal in a Sentence

the troops moved through the village inchmeal, recapturing it virtually house by house

First Known Use of inchmeal

1548, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inchmeal

inch entry 1 + -meal (as in piecemeal)

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The first known use of inchmeal was in 1548

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Cite this Entry

“Inchmeal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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