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

Definition of inchmeal

Did you know?

"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). An old suffix that means "by a (specified) portion or measure at a time," -meal 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

Learn More About inchmeal

Time Traveler for inchmeal

Time Traveler

The first known use of inchmeal was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About inchmeal

Dictionary Entries Near inchmeal




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for inchmeal

Cite this Entry

“Inchmeal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!