inch

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inch1 / inch/ • n. 1. a unit of linear measure equal to one twelfth of a foot (2.54 cm): the toy train is four inches long | eighteen inches of thread. (Symbol: ) ∎  a very small amount or distance: I had no intention of budging an inch. 2. a unit used to express other quantities, in particular: ∎  (as a unit of rainfall) a quantity that would cover a horizontal surface to a depth of one inch. ∎  (also inch of mercury) (as a unit of atmospheric pressure) an amount that would support a column of mercury one-inch high in a barometer (equal to 33.86 millibars, 29.5 inches being equal to one bar). • v. [intr.] move slowly and carefully in a specified direction: the 2,000 mourners inched along narrow country lanes | fig. the stock market inched ahead today. ∎  [tr.] cause (something) to move in this manner: he inched the car forward. PHRASES: by inches 1. only just: the shot missed her by inches. 2. very slowly and gradually; bit by bit: you can't let him die by inches like this. every inch 1. the whole surface, distance, or area: between them they know every inch of the country. 2. entirely; very much so: he's every inch the gentleman. inch by inch gradually; bit by bit: inch by inch he crept along the wall. within an inch of very close to: her mouth was within an inch of his chin. (to) within an inch of one's life almost to the point of death: he was beaten within an inch of his life. inch2 • n. [in place names] chiefly Scot. a small island or a small area of high land: Inchkeith.

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inch •Romansh •blanch, Blanche, branch, ranch, tranche •avalanche •backbench, bench, blench, clench, Dench, drench, entrench, French, frontbench, quench, stench, tench, trench, wench, wrench •crossbench • workbench •cinch, clinch, finch, flinch, inch, lynch, Minch, pinch, squinch, winch •chaffinch • greenfinch • hawfinch •goldfinch • bullfinch •carte blanche, conch •graunch, haunch, launch, paunch, raunch, staunch •brunch, bunch, crunch, hunch, lunch, munch, punch, scrunch •honeybunch • keypunch

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inch a unit of linear measure equal to one twelfth of a foot. The word is recorded from late Old English (in form ynce) and comes from Latin uncia ‘twelfth part’, from unus ‘one’ (probably denoting a unit).

See also give someone an inch and they will take an ell.

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inch1 twelfth part of a foot. Late OE. ynċe, corr. to OHG. unza, Goth. unkja — L. uncia twelfth part (see OUNCE1).

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inch2 (Sc.) small island. XV. — Gael. innis = (O)Ir. inis, W. ynys.

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inch Imperial unit of measurement equal to 2.54cm. There are 12 inches to 1 foot.