View synonyms for in-


  1. a prefix representing English in ( income; indwelling; inland , etc.), but used also as a verb-formative with transitive, intensive, or sometimes little apparent force ( intrust; inweave , etc.). It often assumes the same forms as in- 2, such as en- 1, em- 1, im- 3.


  1. a suffix, occurring in adjectives of Greek and Latin origin, meaning “pertaining to,” and (in nouns thence derived) also imitated in English ( coffin; cousin , etc.).


  1. a prefix of Latin origin meaning primarily “in,” but used also as a verb-formative with the same force as in- 1 ( incarcerate; incantation ).


  1. a noun suffix used in a special manner in chemical and mineralogical nomenclature ( glycerin; acetin , etc.). In spelling, usage wavers between -in and -ine. In chemistry a certain distinction of use is attempted, basic substances having the termination -ine rather than -in ( aconitine; aniline , etc.), and -in being restricted to certain neutral compounds, glycerides, glucosides, and proteids ( albumin; palmitin , etc.), but this distinction is not always observed.


  1. a prefix of Latin origin, corresponding to English un-, having a negative or privative force, freely used as an English formative, especially of adjectives and their derivatives and of nouns ( inattention; indefensible; inexpensive; inorganic; invariable ). It assumes the same phonetic phases as in- 2 ( impartial; immeasurable; illiterate; irregular , etc.). In French, it became en- and thus occurs unfelt in such words as enemy (French ennemi, Latin inimicus, lit., not friendly).


  1. a suffixal use of the adverb in, extracted from sit-in, forming compound nouns, usually from verbs, referring to organized protests through or in support of the named activity ( kneel-in; chain-in; be-in ) or, more generally, to any organized social or cultural activity ( cook-in; sing-in ).



[ in ]


  1. (used to indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits):

    walking in the park.

  2. (used to indicate inclusion within something abstract or immaterial):

    in politics; in the autumn.

  3. (used to indicate inclusion within or occurrence during a period or limit of time):

    in ancient times; a task done in ten minutes.

  4. (used to indicate limitation or qualification, as of situation, condition, relation, manner, action, etc.):

    to speak in a whisper; to be similar in appearance.

  5. (used to indicate means):

    sketched in ink; spoken in French.

  6. (used to indicate motion or direction from outside to a point within) into:

    Let's go in the house.

  7. (used to indicate transition from one state to another):

    to break in half.

  8. (used to indicate object or purpose):

    speaking in honor of the event.


  1. in or into some place, position, state, relation, etc.:

    Please come in.

  2. on the inside; within.
  3. in one's house or office.
  4. in office or power.
  5. in possession or occupancy.
  6. having the turn to play, as in a game.
  7. Baseball. (of an infielder or outfielder) in a position closer to home plate than usual; short:

    The third baseman played in, expecting a bunt.

  8. on good terms; in favor:

    He's in with his boss, but he doubts it will last.

  9. Informal. in vogue; in style:

    He says straw hats will be in this year.

  10. in season:

    Watermelons will soon be in.


  1. located or situated within; inner; internal:

    the in part of a mechanism.

  2. Informal.
    1. in favor with stylish or trendy people; currently popular: the in thing to do.

      the in place to dine;

      the in thing to do.

    2. keeping up with the latest trends and fashions:

      the in clique at school.

  3. Informal. comprehensible only to a special or ultrasophisticated group:

    an in joke.

  4. well-liked; included in a favored group.
  5. inward; incoming; inbound:

    an in train.

  6. plentiful; available.
  7. being in power, authority, control, etc.:

    a member of the in party.

  8. Golf. of or relating to the playing of the last nine holes of an eighteen-hole golf course ( out ):

    His in score on the second round was 34.


  1. Usually ins. persons in office or political power ( outs ).
  2. a member of the political party in power:

    The election made him an in.

  3. pull or influence; a social advantage or connection:

    He's got an in with the senator.

  4. (in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) a return or service that lands within the in-bounds limits of a court or section of a court ( out ).

verb (used with object)

, British Dialect.
, inned, in·ning.
  1. to enclose.


Symbol, Chemistry.
  1. indium.



abbreviation for

  1. Indiana (approved especially for use with zip code).



abbreviation for

  1. inch; inches.



abbreviation for

  1. inch(es)




  1. not; non- Compare un- 1








the internet domain name for

  1. India



/ ɪn /


  1. inside; within

    no smoking in the auditorium

  2. at a place where there is

    lying in the shade

    walking in the rain

  3. indicating a state, situation, or condition

    in a deep sleep

    standing in silence

  4. before or when (a period of time) has elapsed

    come back in one year

  5. using (a language, etc) as a means of communication

    written in code

  6. concerned or involved with, esp as an occupation

    in journalism

  7. expressing a ratio, proportion, or probability

    one in five boys

  8. while or by performing the action of; as a consequence of or by means of

    in crossing the street he was run over

  9. used to indicate goal or purpose

    in honour of the president

  10. (used of certain animals) about to give birth to; pregnant with (specified offspring)

    in calf

    in foal

  11. a variant of into

    she fell in the water

    he tore the paper in two

  12. have it in one
    often foll by an infinitive to have the ability (to do something)
  13. in it informal.
    joining in; taking part
  14. in that or in so far as
    conjunction because or to the extent that; inasmuch as

    I regret my remark in that it upset you

  15. nothing in it
    no difference or interval between two things


  1. in or into a particular place; inward or indoors

    bring him in

    come in

  2. so as to achieve office, power, or authority

    the Conservatives got in at the last election

  3. so as to enclose

    block in

    cover in a hole

  4. (in certain games) so as to take one's turn or one's team's turn at a certain aspect of the play; taking one's innings

    you have to get the other side out before you go in

  5. (of a fire) alight

    do you keep the fire in all night?

  6. in combination indicating an activity or gathering, esp one organized to protest against something



  7. in at
    present at (the beginning, end, etc)
  8. in between
  9. in for
    about to be affected by (something, esp something unpleasant)

    you're in for a shock

  10. in on
    acquainted with or sharing in

    I was in on all his plans

  11. in with
    associated with; friendly with; regarded highly by
  12. have it in for or have got it in for informal.
    to wish or intend harm towards


  1. stressed fashionable; modish

    the in thing to do

  2. competing

    you've got to be in to win


  1. ins and outs
    intricacies or complications; details

    the ins and outs of a computer system



the chemical symbol for

  1. indium



abbreviation for

  1. Indiana



suffix forming nouns

  1. indicating a neutral organic compound, including proteins, glucosides, and glycerides




  2. indicating an enzyme in certain nonsystematic names


  3. indicating a pharmaceutical substance




  4. indicating a chemical substance in certain nonsystematic names





  1. in; into; towards; within; on



  2. having an intensive or causative function




  1. Abbreviation of inch

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Word History and Origins

Origin of in-1

Middle English, Old English; in

Origin of in-2

Middle English -in, -ine < Old French < Latin -inus, -ina, -inum < Greek -inos, -inē, -inon

Origin of in-3

From Latin, combining form of in (preposition); cognate with in

Origin of in-4

< New Latin -ina. See -ine 2

Origin of in-5

< Latin; akin to an- 1, a- 6, un- 1

Origin of in-6

First recorded before 900; 1925–30 in fordef 29; Middle English, Old English; cognate with German, Dutch, Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Gothic in, Old Norse ī, Latin in, Greek en, Lithuanian į

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Word History and Origins

Origin of in-1

from Latin in-; related to ne-, nōn not

Origin of in-2

Old English; compare Old High German in, Welsh yn, Old Norse ī, Latin in, Greek en

Origin of in-3

from New Latin -ina; compare -ine ²

Origin of in-4

from in (prep, adv)

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. be in for, to be bound to undergo something, especially a disagreeable experience:

    We are in for a long speech.

  2. in for it, Slang. about to suffer chastisement or unpleasant consequences, especially of one's own actions or omissions: Also British, for it.

    I forgot our anniversary again, and I'll be in for it now.

  3. in that, because; inasmuch as:

    In that you won't have time for supper, let me give you something now.

  4. in with, on friendly terms with; familiar or associating with:

    They are in with all the important people.

More idioms and phrases containing in-

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    Synonym Study

    The prefixes in- and un- may both have, among other uses, a negative force. In- is the form derived from Latin, and is therefore used in learned words or in words derived from Latin or (rarely) Greek: inaccessible, inaccuracy, inadequate, etc. Un- is the native form going back to Old English, used in words of native origin, and sometimes used in combination with words of other origins if these words are in common use: unloving, ungodly, unfeeling, unnecessary, unsafe.

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    Example Sentences

    This is a guy who has his son-in-law clean his eyeglasses, for crying out loud.

    Her travel clique has been known to arrive at an airport, bags packed, passport-in-hand, within hours of spotting a deal.

    Earl Spencer adds, “Effectively, my great-grandfather sold his children to his father-in-law.”

    The lack of a gun is not likely to be a major problem for close-in air-to-air dogfights against other jets.

    But those weapons are of limited utility, especially during close-in fights.

    Such throats are trying, are they not?In case one catches cold; Ah, yes!

    The commander-in-chief still kept him attached to the headquarter staff, and constantly employed him on special service.

    So far Murat had always held subordinate commands; his great ambition was to become the commander-in-chief of an independent army.

    Their jurisdictions overlapped and the Gascon would play second fiddle to no one save to his great brother-in-law.

    But the novel disappeared under the clothes with amazing celerity as the voice of her sister-in-law demanded admission.


    Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

    Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.