pinch

verb
\ ˈpinch How to pronounce pinch (audio) \
pinched; pinching; pinches

Definition of pinch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to squeeze between the finger and thumb or between the jaws of an instrument
b : to prune the tip of (a plant or shoot) usually to induce branching
c : to squeeze or compress painfully
d : to cause physical or mental pain to
e(1) : to cause to appear thin, haggard, or shrunken
(2) : to cause to shrivel or wither
2a : to subject to strict economy or want : straiten
b : to restrain or limit narrowly : constrict
3a : steal
b : arrest
4 : to sail too close to the wind

intransitive verb

2 : to be miserly or closefisted
3 : to press painfully
4 : narrow, taper the road pinched down to a trail— Cecelia Holland
pinch pennies
: to practice strict economy

pinch

noun

Definition of pinch (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a critical juncture : emergency
c : deficit
2a : an act of pinching : squeeze
b : as much as may be taken between the finger and thumb a pinch of snuff
c : a very small amount
3 : a marked thinning of a vein or bed
4a : theft
b : a police raid also : arrest

pinch

adjective

Definition of pinch (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : substitute pinch runner
2 : hit by a pinch hitter a pinch homer

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Synonyms for pinch

Synonyms: Verb

nip

Synonyms: Noun

grab, heist, rip-off, snatching, swiping, theft

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Choose the Right Synonym for pinch

Noun

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, strait (or straits) crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events. an important juncture in our country's history exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation. provide for exigencies emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster. the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence. contingency plans pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency. come through in a pinch strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult. in dire straits crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference. a crisis of confidence

Examples of pinch in a Sentence

Verb

My little brother is always trying to pinch me. He pinched her cheeks and told her how cute she was. Pinch together the edges of the dough. He pinched the top of his nose to stop the bleeding and leaned forward. He pinched off the top of the shoots. She pinched back the new growth. These new shoes are pinching my toes. I pinched my fingers in the door. By pinching and scraping, she managed to save enough money to buy a new car.

Noun

the pinch of my favorite sweater really bugged me! an innocent person caught up in a city-wide pinch of drug dealers

Adjective

A pinch homer won the game.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, goat cheese, lemon zest, and pinch salt. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spring Vegetable Pizza," 7 Mar. 2019 The contactor was pinched from factory cooling towers. The Economist, "Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost?," 7 June 2018 Walmart, whose profits have already been pinched by efforts to build up its e-commerce in the United States, notably grocery delivery and pickup, has already tested investor patience for the past few years with its tech investments. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Walmart Investors Anxious About Its $16 Billion Flipkart Deal," 9 May 2018 Boston answered with similar weirdness in the top of the 10th, thanks to pinch runner Ian Kinsler’s eventful trip around the bases. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Dodgers Beat Red Sox, Eventually, in Longest-Ever World Series Game," 27 Oct. 2018 If mixture is too dry to be pinched together, add a tad more butter or coconut oil. The Editors, Marie Claire, "Sugar High: The Surprising Dessert Recipe Perfect for BBQs," 24 May 2017 She's learned how to pinch the branches to help establish an early branching pattern, rearrange the flowers as the plant grows more branches, and use metal to set the final arrangement. Lauren Smith, House Beautiful, "Meet the Largest Chrysanthemum in North America," 10 Aug. 2015 But a disruption would pinch parts of the market—particularly U.S. Gulf Coast refiners who covet the sour crude Venezuela provides. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Why the Oil Market Is Shrugging at Venezuela," 24 Jan. 2019 In a 1-quart jar, shake ¼ very small onion (finely chopped), 2 Tbsp each red wine vinegar and olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Marinated Chickpea Greek Salad," 23 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Add one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the cauliflower paste and stir to combine. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Make Your Own Version of Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi," 9 Apr. 2019 Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Gwyneth Paltrow’s Guide to a Healthy Sunday Brunch," 1 Feb. 2019 Monica Kim, Senior Fashion News Editor My personal pinch-me moment took place in Paris, when I was entrusted to review Rok Hwang’s first show. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Our Very Favorite Moments From the Fall 2019 Collections," 12 Mar. 2019 Like most of the novel’s cast, Burgh is a patchwork of real-life people: a pinch of Mark Rothko (alcoholism and depression), a touch of Philip Guston (early years as a muralist), perhaps a little of Sandler himself (service in World War II). Jackson Arn, WSJ, "‘Goodbye to Tenth Street’ Review: A Final Sweeping," 15 Feb. 2019 Her pinch-me moments continued after the runway finale: Pippa enjoyed a pasta dinner overlooking the Duomo in Milan. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Philippa Coulthard Shares Her Diary from the Ferragamo Show at Milan Fashion Week," 28 Sep. 2018 Anthopoulos wants to turn Camargo into a super sub who plays all four infield positions, serves as the top pinch-hitter and maybe even gets some time in the outfield. Paul Newberry, The Seattle Times, "Donaldson, Braves reach a deal that works well for both," 27 Nov. 2018 This way, the Mazda Wankel would not directly turn the wheels but act more like an onboard generator that, in a pinch, generates extra electricity for the electric motors that drive the car's wheels. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "The Rhombus Rotary Engine: Can a Quirky New Design Top the Famous Wankel?," 18 Jan. 2019 With Rao pinch-hitting, nearly all the games had been shipped by November 2012, a little over a year after the money had been raised. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "How a CEO fiddled while beloved board game Glory to Rome crashed and burned," 8 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pinch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pinch

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pinch

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French *pincher, pincer

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Statistics for pinch

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pinch

The first known use of pinch was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pinch

pinch

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pinch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to squeeze (someone's skin) between your thumb and finger often in a painful way
: to squeeze or press (something) together with your thumb and finger
: to remove (part of a plant) by squeezing with your thumb and finger

pinch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pinch (Entry 2 of 3)

: the act of pinching someone or something
: the amount of something that can be held between your finger and thumb

pinch

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pinch (Entry 3 of 3)

US, baseball
: used as a substitute for another player
: made by a pinch hitter

pinch

verb
\ ˈpinch How to pronounce pinch (audio) \
pinched; pinching

Kids Definition of pinch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to squeeze between the finger and thumb or between the jaws of an instrument My aunt pinched my cheeks.
2 : to squeeze painfully I pinched my finger in a door.
3 : to break off by squeezing with the thumb and fingers Pinch off a bit of dough.
4 : to cause to look thin or shrunken … I saw Dad run toward me with his face all pinched with anger.— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control
pinch pennies
: to be thrifty or stingy

pinch

noun

Kids Definition of pinch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a time of emergency He always helps out in a pinch.
2 : an act of squeezing skin between the thumb and fingers
3 : as much as may be picked up between the finger and the thumb : a very small amount a pinch of salt
\ ˈpinch How to pronounce pinch (audio) \

Medical Definition of pinch

: to squeeze or compress (a part of the body) usually in a painful or discomforting way a pinched nerve caused by entrapment

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More from Merriam-Webster on pinch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pinch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pinch

Spanish Central: Translation of pinch

Nglish: Translation of pinch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pinch for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pinch

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