- 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.
- to move by inches or small degrees: We inched our way along the road.
- by inches,
- narrowly; by a narrow margin: escaped by inches.
- Also inch by inch.by small degrees or stages; gradually: The miners worked their way through the narrow shaft inch by inch.
- every inch, in every respect; completely: That horse is every inch a thoroughbred.
- within an inch of, nearly; close to: He came within an inch of getting killed in the crash.
Origin of inch1
- a small island near the seacoast.
Origin of inch2
Examples from the Web for inch
With a 1¾-inch ice cream scoop (or two spoons), scoop round balls of dough onto the prepared sheet pans.Make These Barefoot Contessa Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
November 28, 2014
Cut the phyllo in half crosswise to make two (7 × 8½-inch) rectangles.The Barefoot Contessa’s Tasty Trip to Paris
November 27, 2014
Anna Whiston-Donaldson is a popular blogger at An Inch of Gray.Book Bag: Reading Your Way Out Of Grief
October 16, 2014
In the coming month, Maynard may play a crucial role in helping the GOP inch forward on this controversial issue.The Beautiful Newlywed Who Made the Right Change Its Mind on Physician-Assisted Death
October 10, 2014
I moved my head one inch off the pillow to find out which it was, and something growled.The Stacks: Pete Dexter on What It’s Like to Lose the Knack of Having Fun
September 20, 2014
I take it fried, about an inch thick, with plenty of ham fat.
"You were one-quarter of an inch from death, Dozier," he replied.Way of the Lawless
Cut this into strips about 3/4 inch wide, cover, and let rise.
Then, between these layers, put a filling about 1/2 inch thick.
It seemed as if she grew an inch taller in her scorn of the Inspector's saying.Within the Law
- a unit of length equal to one twelfth of a foot or 0.0254 metre
- an amount of precipitation that would cover a surface with water one inch deepfive inches of rain fell in January
- a unit of pressure equal to a mercury column one inch high in a barometer
- a very small distance, degree, or amount
- every inch in every way; completelyhe was every inch an aristocrat
- inch by inch gradually; little by little
- within an inch of very close to
- 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
- Scot and Irish a small island
Word Origin and History for inch
"linear measure, one-twelfth of a foot," late Old English ynce, Middle English unche (current spelling c.1300), from Latin uncia "a twelfth part," from root of unus "one" (see one). An early borrowing from Latin, not found in any other Germanic language. Transferred and figurative sense of "a very small amount" is attested from mid-14c. For phrase give him an inch ... see ell.
"small Scottish island," early 15c., from Gaelic innis (genitive innse) "island, land by a river," from Celtic *inissi (cf. Old Irish inis, Welsh ynys, Breton enez).
"move little by little," 1590s, from inch (n.1). Related: Inched; inching.
- A unit of length in the US Customary System equal to 112 of a foot (2.54 centimeters). See Table at measurement.
Idioms and Phrases with inch
In addition to the idioms beginning with inch
- inch along
- inch by inch
- by inches
- every inch
- give an inch
- within an ace (inch) of