inch

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English ynce, from Latin uncia (twelfth part). Compare ounce.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

inch (plural inches)

  1. A unit of length equal to one twelfth of a foot, or exactly 2.54 centimetres.
  2. (meteorology) The amount of water which would cover a surface to the depth of an inch, used as a measurement of rainfall.
  3. The amount of an alcoholic beverage which would fill a glass or bottle to the depth of an inch.
  4. (figuratively) A very short distance.
    "Don't move an inch!"
    • Shakespeare
      Beldame, I think we watched you at an inch.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

inch (third-person singular simple present inches, present participle inching, simple past and past participle inched)

  1. (intransitive, followed by a preposition) To advance very slowly, or by a small amount (in a particular direction).
    Fearful of falling, he inched along the window ledge.
    • 1957, J. D. Salinger, "Zooey", in, 1961, Franny and Zooey:
      The window blind had been lowered — Zooey had done all his bathtub reading by the light from the three-bulb overhead fixture—but a fraction of morning light inched under the blind and onto the title page of the manuscript.
    • 2012 May 9, John Percy, “Birmingham City 2 Blackpool 2 (2-3 on agg): match report”, the Telegraph:
      Already guarding a 1-0 lead from the first leg, Blackpool inched further ahead when Stephen Dobbie scored from an acute angle on the stroke of half-time. The game appeared to be completely beyond Birmingham’s reach three minutes into the second period when Matt Phillips reacted quickly to bundle the ball past Colin Doyle and off a post.
  2. To drive by inches, or small degrees.
    • Dryden
      He gets too far into the soldier's grace / And inches out my master.
  3. To deal out by inches; to give sparingly.
Derived terms[edit]
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Gaelic innis

Noun[edit]

inch (plural inches)

  1. (Scotland) A small island
    • Sir Walter Scott, Rosabelle
      The blackening wave is edged with white; / To inch and rock the sea-mews fly.

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