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See also: Inch



  • IPA(key): /ɪntʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪntʃ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English ynche, enche, from Old English ynce, borrowed from Latin uncia (twelfth part). Doublet of ounce, uncia, oka, and ouguiya.

Alternative forms[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!"
Derived terms[edit]
  • Assamese: ইঞ্চি (io͂si)
  • Hindi: इंच (iñc)
  • Indonesian: inci
  • Japanese: インチ (inchi)
  • Korean: 인치 (inchi)
  • Serbo-Croatian: и̏нч
  • Swahili: inchi
  • Turkish: inç
  • Vietnamese: inh
  • Yoruba: ínǹsì


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”, in the Telegraph[1]:
      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.
    • 1692, John Dryden, Cleomenes, the Spartan Hero, a Tragedy
      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]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Scottish Gaelic innis


inch (plural inches)

  1. (Scotland, Ireland) A small island; an islet.
  2. (Scotland, Ireland) A meadow, pasture, field, or haugh.
    • 1988, Alice Taylor, To School Through the Fields: An Irish Country Childhood, Brandon Ltd, →ISBN, page 6:
      An ivy-clad farmhouse surrounded by trees, it stood on the sunny side of a sloping hill at the foot of which the Darigle river curved its way through gold-furzed inches to disappear under a stone bridge into the woods beyond.
    • 1988, Alice Taylor, To School Through the Fields: An Irish Country Childhood, Brandon Ltd, →ISBN, page 22:
      As these calves grew older they did not need to return to the farmyard for feeding as they were able to eat sufficient grass for themselves. They were then kept in the fields, known as the inches, along by the river[,] where they grew strong[,] and during the winter cold when grass was scarce[,] hay was carried down to them.
Usage notes[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of ynche



Unadapted borrowing from English inch.


inch m (plural inchi)

  1. inch
    Synonym: țol