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Recorded since 1577, probably a rebracketing of an + otch, which noun stems from Middle French oche (notch), itself from the Old French verb ochier (to notch), of unknown origin.



notch (plural notches)

  1. a V-shaped cut.
    1. such a cut, used for keeping a record
      The notches in that tribe's warrior axe handles stand for killed enemies.
    2. (slang) woman
      • 2003, “California Girls”, in Married to the Game, performed by Too $hort:
        These ladies from the west got game
        Who got the best, VA, DC, Georgia, New York, Texas, Louisiana, or Florida
        The Middwest got some super notches
        You eva seen Cali's finest, man, who could top us
  2. an indentation.
  3. a mountain pass; a defile
  4. (informal) a level or degree.
    This car is a notch better than the other.
    Can you speak a notch louder, please?
    • 2014, Daniel Taylor, "World Cup 2014: Uruguay sink England as Suárez makes his mark,", 20 June:
      a better team might also have done more to expose Uruguay’s occasionally brittle defence, but England’s speed of thought and movement in their attacking positions was a good notch or two down from the Italy game.

Derived terms[edit]


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notch (third-person singular simple present notches, present participle notching, simple past and past participle notched)

  1. (transitive) To cut a notch in (something).
  2. (transitive) To record (a score or similar) by making notches on something.
    The tribe's hunters notch their kills by notches on each's axe's handle.
  3. (transitive) To join by means of notches.
  4. (transitive) To achieve (something).
    The team notched a pair of shutout wins on Sunday.
    • 2010 October 21, “Panthers' football team”, in Portland Leader[]:
      Jenkins booted a pair of field goals, Hopkins and George Nwokoji each notched a touchdown.

Derived terms[edit]