1. an angular or V-shaped cut, indentation, or slit in an object, surface, or edge.
  2. a cut or nick made in a stick or other object for record, as in keeping a tally.
  3. New England and Upstate New York. a deep, narrow opening or pass between mountains; gap; defile.
  4. Informal. a step, degree, or grade: This camera is a notch better than the other.
  5. Metallurgy. a taphole in a blast furnace: iron notch; cinder notch.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cut or make a notch in.
  2. to record by notches: He notched each kill on the stick.
  3. to score, as in a game: He notched another win.
  1. 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 formsnotch·y, adjectiveun·notched, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unnotched

Historical Examples of unnotched

  • He had unnotched the first of several ropes securing the craft.

    The Land of Look Behind

    Paul Cameron Brown

  • His own gun is unnotched, but a half-dozen men who have incurred his displeasure have come to abrupt ends.

    The Portal of Dreams

    Charles Neville Buck

British Dictionary definitions for unnotched


  1. a V-shaped cut or indentation; nick
  2. a cut or nick made in a tally stick or similar object
  3. US and Canadian a narrow pass or gorge
  4. informal a step or level (esp in the phrase a notch above)
verb (tr)
  1. to cut or make a notch in
  2. to record with or as if with a notch
  3. (usually foll by up) informal to score or achievethe team notched up its fourth win

Word Origin for notch

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

Word Origin and History for unnotched



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

unnotched in Medicine


  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.

Idioms and Phrases with unnotched


see take down a notch.

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