in a pinch

In an emergency, when hard-pressed, as in This music isn't what I would have chosen, but it will do in a pinch. This term dates from the late 1400s, when it was put as at a pinch (a usage still current in Britain); pinch alludes to straitened circumstances.


Nearby words

  1. in a jam,
  2. in a lather,
  3. in a manner of speaking,
  4. in a nutshell,
  5. in a pig's eye,
  6. in a rut,
  7. in a sense,
  8. in a snit,
  9. in a state,
  10. in a stew

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