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[noun in-let, -lit; verb in-let, in-let] /noun ˈɪn lɛt, -lɪt; verb ˈɪnˌlɛt, ɪnˈlɛt/
an indentation of a shoreline, usually long and narrow; small bay or arm.
a narrow passage between islands.
a place of admission; entrance.
something put in or inserted.
verb (used with object), inlet, inletting.
to put in; insert.
Origin of inlet
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at in, let1
Can be confused
bay, cove, gulf, inlet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inlet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There had been a storm, and a good many vessels had run into the inlet for shelter.

  • Meantime the weather had cleared, and all the vessels but one had gone from the inlet.

  • The same night that Maynard came into the inlet a wedding was held on the shore.

  • The boat is slowly entering the inlet, but has to struggle with a head-tide.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • She stood on the shore by the inlet, she saw the boat coming in from the open sea.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • Once more he raised the glass to his eye and gazed toward the inlet of the atoll.

    Adrift on the Pacific Edward S. Ellis
  • It was of Alice that every crag and cliff, every bay and inlet spoke.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • By two of the afternoon we were running into the inlet of Rio Medio.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • He was reefed close and was making for the inlet, up Bay End way.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock
British Dictionary definitions for inlet


noun (ˈɪnˌlɛt)
a narrow inland opening of the coastline
an entrance or opening
the act of letting someone or something in
something let in or inserted
  1. a passage, valve, or part through which a substance, esp a fluid, enters a device or machine
  2. (as modifier): an inlet valve
verb (ɪnˈlɛt) -lets, -letting, -let
(transitive) to insert or inlay
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inlet

1570s, "narrow opening into a coast, arm of the sea," a special use of Middle English inleten "to let in" (c.1300), from in + let (v.). In this sense said by old sources to be originally a Kentish term.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inlet in Medicine

inlet in·let (ĭn'lět', -lĭt)
A passage leading into a cavity.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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