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[noch] /nɒtʃ/
an angular or V -shaped cut, indentation, or slit in an object, surface, or edge.
a cut or nick made in a stick or other object for record, as in keeping a tally.
New England and Upstate New York. a deep, narrow opening or pass between mountains; gap; defile.
Informal. a step, degree, or grade:
This camera is a notch better than the other.
Metallurgy. a taphole in a blast furnace:
iron notch; cinder notch.
verb (used with object)
to cut or make a notch in.
to record by notches:
He notched each kill on the stick.
to score, as in a game:
He notched another win.
notch up / down, to move up or down or increase or decrease by notches or degrees:
The temperature has notched up another degree.
Origin of notch
1570-80; a notch (by false division) for an *otch < Old French oche notch
Related forms
notchy, adjective
unnotched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for notches
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From the notches on his back the alligator is called a sawrian.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • The edges of the gables rose, not in a slope, but in a succession of notches, like stairs.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • Still, I must say, having you puts me a couple of notches ahead of her.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • These notches are for the string, which is to be put on early.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • The notches for the string should be two-thirds the depth of the string.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • My old car had the gears as they used always to be in notches on a bar.

    Danger! and Other Stories Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Why the notches of a fern leaf or the stamen of a water lily?

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
British Dictionary definitions for notches


a V-shaped cut or indentation; nick
a cut or nick made in a tally stick or similar object
(US & Canadian) a narrow pass or gorge
(informal) a step or level (esp in the phrase a notch above)
verb (transitive)
to cut or make a notch in
to record with or as if with a notch
(usually foll by up) (informal) to score or achieve: the team notched up its fourth win
Word Origin
C16: from incorrect division of an otch (as a notch), from Old French oche notch, from Latin obsecāre to cut off, from secāre to cut
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 notches



1590s, from notch (n.). Earlier verb (before misdivision) was Middle English ochen "to cut, slash" (c.1400). Related: Notched; notching.



1570s, probably a misdivision of an otch (see N for other examples), from Middle French oche "notch," from Old French ochier "to notch," of unknown origin. Said to be unconnected to nock.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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notches in Medicine

notch (nŏch)

  1. An indentation at the edge of a structure; an incisure.

  2. An upstroke or peak on a pulse tracing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for notches



  1. To score; achieve: a pacy serve that's notched a few aces in its time (1623+)
  2. To do the sex act •Use attributed to volleyball players: Guys don't fuck, they notch (1970s+)

Related Terms

notchery, top-notch

[first sense fr use of the term in cricket, and influenced by the cowboy tradition of filing a notch in the handle of one's pistol for each man killed]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with notches


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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