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

While the lentils cook, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, ginger and pinch salt. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Curried Tomato Coconut Lentils with Gingery Yogurt," 10 Apr. 2019 After that, simultaneously pinch and rub your hair with one hand, and spray that hair with more hairspray with your other hand. Devin Toth, Redbook, "How to Get Sexy Hair for Valentine's Day," 13 Feb. 2012 While American commoners might celebrate the holiday with some day drinking or by childishly pinching anyone not wearing green, Prince William and Kate Middleton, are ringing in the day with an important royal engagement. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Wears Custom Alexander McQueen for St. Patrick's Day," 17 Mar. 2019 If calling your friend’s name and shaking their shoulders doesn’t work, Stoner suggests rubbing their sternum (breastbone) with your knuckles or pinching their earlobe. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "What to Do if Your Friend Is Passed Out Drunk," 26 Feb. 2019 And proposed Treasury regulations on the subject create a broad definition of interest that may pinch some companies. WSJ, "WSJ Tax Guide 2019: Interest Payments on Business Debt," 15 Feb. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This process can take a while but will work in a pinch. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener," 21 May 2019 Here, 10 of the most full-coverage concealers and foundations money can buy — plus tips straight from the pros on how to cover up your ink in a pinch. Allure, "The Best Makeup to Cover Up Tattoos, According to Professional Makeup Artists," 23 Mar. 2019 But now, each day's Instagram post notification comes with a tingle of excitement and a pinch of dread. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Taylor Swift's Cryptic Social Media Clues Have Reached a Breaking Point," 23 Apr. 2019 Season chicken with paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), and a pinch of salt; add to the skillet and stir, then remove from heat. Joy Bauer, Ms, Woman's Day, "Mediterranean Zucchini Boats with Kefir-Mint Topping," 25 Oct. 2018 Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste, along with the nutmeg, if using. Noelle Carter, latimes.com, "Cooking for comfort? Anthony Bourdain's rich lasagna Bolognese is one of our favorites," 8 June 2018 Eovaldi got out there soon enough, creating another layer of weird baseball: one pitcher pinch-running for another. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "The Rays and Marlins Played An Incredibly Strange Game on Tuesday Night," 4 July 2018 Wilson Ramos, just into the game after Sucre was pinch run for in the seventh, could not catch it. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros spoil Charlie Morton's gem in loss to Rays," 1 July 2018 Gerber, 25, made his major league debut on Friday night against the Royals, pinch-running in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 of their doubleheader. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers recall Mike Gerber from Toledo, DFA Drew VerHagen," 23 Apr. 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

18 May 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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