pinch

verb
\ ˈpinch \
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

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 The Ducks experienced the ugly side of that equation on Monday in Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against San Jose because their defensemen pinched too often and the forwards didn't provide adequate support. Helene Elliott, latimes.com, "Randy Carlyle says Ducks need to be much smarter in their decision-making in Game 4 against the Sharks," 18 Apr. 2018 Alternatively, if companies decide to absorb the higher steel and aluminum costs, that also would pinch profits. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "How Trump's planned steel, aluminum tariffs affect you," 5 Mar. 2018 Heat the oven to 400˚F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss broccoli and garlic with oil, pinch salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Roasted Broccoli–Artichoke Dip," 21 Dec. 2018 Connect the two ends, pinching them between your fingers to smooth out the surface. Jamie Wiebe, House Beautiful, "DIY The Holidays: Glittery Braided Clay Napkin Rings," 11 Dec. 2014 For the past hour, Dewa has been pinching me (hard!) between my toes, a reflexology thing, and kneading my flesh to coax the Kundalini energy up from the base of my spine through my chakras. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Finding the Bali You Came For," 16 Nov. 2018 There’s a famous episode of the TV show The West Wing where Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman pinch-hits at the podium for ailing Press Secretary C.J. Cregg. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Lawmakers struggle to decode Trump's 'secret' to deal with Russia, North Korea," 28 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 guns are typically used for shore bombardment, softening up enemy defenses before an amphibious assault, although in a pinch they could be unleashed against enemy surface ships and incoming aerial threats. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Quietly Tested Mach 3 Heavy Gun Shells That Could Revolutionize Surface Warfare," 8 Jan. 2019 Getting that polished look in a pinch only requires a bit of grooming. Sarah Ferguson, Marie Claire, "3 Spots You're Forgetting About When Getting Ready," 11 Dec. 2018 The pullovers make perfect last-minute costume alternatives in a pinch. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Ugly Halloween Sweaters Were Made For People Who Are Too Lazy to Dress Up," 10 Sep. 2018 Day Passes Best for: Infrequent leisure travelers, frequent flyers in a pinch. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Ways to Get Airport Lounge Access for Every Type of Traveler," 21 Aug. 2018 That’s because those areas are pinch points that both ships and wildlife must pass through. Adam Aton, Scientific American, "Ships Threaten Arctic Marine Mammals," 3 July 2018 Saturday starter Yovani Gallardo goes for the second time since his promotion, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx was good enough Wednesday in a pinch after replacing Mendez. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers' starters still among MLB's worst. But here's why they've been better recently," 22 June 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

9 Feb 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 \
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 \

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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