[ inch ]
/ ɪntʃ /


a unit of length, 1/12 (0.0833) foot, equivalent to 2.54 centimeters.
a very small amount of anything; narrow margin: to win by an inch; to avert disaster by an inch.

verb (used with or without object)

to move by inches or small degrees: We inched our way along the road.

Nearby words

  1. incessancy,
  2. incessant,
  3. incest,
  4. incestuous,
  5. incestuously,
  6. inch along,
  7. inch by inch,
  8. inch of mercury,
  9. inch plant,
  10. inch-pound


Origin of inch

before 1000; Middle English; Old English ynce < Latin uncia twelfth part, inch, ounce. See ounce1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for every inch


/ (ɪntʃ) /



to move or be moved very slowly or in very small stepsthe car inched forward
(tr foll by out) to defeat (someone) by a very small margin

Word Origin for inch

Old English ynce, from Latin uncia twelfth part; see ounce 1


/ (ɪntʃ) /


Scot and Irish a small island

Word Origin for inch

C15: from Gaelic innis island; compare Welsh ynys

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

Word Origin and History for every inch
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for every inch


[ ĭnch ]

A unit of length in the US Customary System equal to 112 of a foot (2.54 centimeters). See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with every inch

every inch

Completely, wholly, as in He was every inch a leader, or I had to argue this case every inch of the way. [Early 1400s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with inch

  • inch along
  • inch by inch

also see:

  • by inches
  • every inch
  • give an inch
  • within an ace (inch) of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.