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Webster 1913 Edition


Inch

Inch

(ĭnch)
,
Noun.
[Gael.
inis
.]
An island; – often used in the names of small islands off the coast of Scotland,
as in
Inch
colm,
Inch
keith, etc.
[Scot.]

Inch

,
Noun.
[OE.
inche
,
unche
, AS.
ynce
, L.
uncia
the twelfth part, inch, ounce. See
Ounce
a weight.]
1.
A measure of length, the twelfth part of a foot, commonly subdivided into halves, quarters, eights, sixteenths, etc., as among mechanics. It was also formerly divided into twelve parts, called lines, and originally into three parts, called barleycorns, its length supposed to have been determined from three grains of barley placed end to end lengthwise. It is also sometimes called a prime (´), composed of twelve seconds (´´), as in the duodecimal system of arithmetic.
12 seconds (´´) make 1
inch
or prime. 12
inches
or primes (´) make 1 foot.
B. Greenleaf.
☞ The meter, the accepted scientific standard of length, equals 39.37 inches; the inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters. See
Metric system
, and
Meter
.
2.
A small distance or degree, whether of time or space; hence, a critical moment; also used metaphorically of minor concessins in bargaining;
as, he won’t give an
inch
; give him an
inch
and he'll take a mile
.
Beldame, I think we watched you at an
inch
.
Shakespeare
By inches
,
by slow degrees, gradually.
Inch of candle
.
See under
Candle
.
Inches of pressure
,
usually, the pressure indicated by so many inches of a mercury column, as on a steam gauge.
Inch of water
.
See under
Water
.
Miner's inch
,
(Hydraulic Mining)
,
a unit for the measurement of water. See
Inch of water
, under
Water
.

Inch

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Inched
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Inching
.]
1.
To drive by inches, or small degrees.
[R.]
He gets too far into the soldier's grace
And
inches
out my master.
Dryden.
2.
To deal out by inches; to give sparingly.
[R.]

Inch

,
Verb.
I.
To advance or retire by inches or small degrees; to move slowly;
as, to
inch
forward
.
With slow paces measures back the field,
And
inches
to the walls.
Dryden.

Inch

,
Adj.
Measuring an inch in any dimension, whether length, breadth, or thickness; – used in composition;
as, a two-
inch
cable; a four-
inch
plank.
Inch stuff
,
boards, etc., sawed one inch thick.

Webster 1828 Edition


Inch

INCH

,
Noun.
[L. uncia, the twelfth part.]
1.
A lineal measure in Great Britain and the United States, being the twelfth part of a foot,and equal to the length of three barley corns.
2.
Proverbially, a small quantity or degree; as, to die by inches, to gain ground by inches.
3.
A precise point of time.
Beldame, I think, we watch'd you at an inch. [Unusual.]

INCH

,
Verb.
T.
To drive by inches or small degrees. [Little used.]
1.
To deal out by inches; to give sparingly. [Little used.]

INCH

,
Verb.
I.
To advance or retire by small degrees. [Little used.]
Inched, is added to words of number; as four-inched. But in American the common practice is to add only inch; as a seven-inch cable.

Definition 2022


inch

inch

English

Noun

inch (plural inches)

  1. A unit of length equal to one twelfth of a foot, or exactly 2.54 centimetres.
  2. (meteorology) The amount of water which would cover a surface to the depth of an inch, used as a measurement of rainfall.
  3. The amount of an alcoholic beverage which would fill a glass or bottle to the depth of an inch.
  4. (figuratively) A very short distance.
    "Don't move an inch!"
    • Shakespeare
      Beldame, I think we watched you at an inch.
Derived terms
Translations

Verb

inch (third-person singular simple present inches, present participle inching, simple past and past participle inched)

  1. (intransitive, followed by a preposition) To advance very slowly, or by a small amount (in a particular direction).
    Fearful of falling, he inched along the window ledge.
    • 1957, J. D. Salinger, "Zooey", in, 1961, Franny and Zooey:
      The window blind had been lowered — Zooey had done all his bathtub reading by the light from the three-bulb overhead fixture—but a fraction of morning light inched under the blind and onto the title page of the manuscript.
    • 2012 May 9, John Percy, “Birmingham City 2 Blackpool 2 (2-3 on agg): match report”, in the Telegraph:
      Already guarding a 1-0 lead from the first leg, Blackpool inched further ahead when Stephen Dobbie scored from an acute angle on the stroke of half-time. The game appeared to be completely beyond Birmingham’s reach three minutes into the second period when Matt Phillips reacted quickly to bundle the ball past Colin Doyle and off a post.
  2. To drive by inches, or small degrees.
    • Dryden
      He gets too far into the soldier's grace / And inches out my master.
  3. To deal out by inches; to give sparingly.
Derived terms
Translations

See also

Etymology 2

From Scottish Gaelic innis

Noun

inch (plural inches)

  1. (Scotland) A small island
    • Sir Walter Scott, Rosabelle
      The blackening wave is edged with white; / To inch and rock the sea-mews fly.

Usage notes

Anagrams