Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A unit of length in the U.S. Customary and British Imperial systems, equal to 1/12 of a foot (2.54 centimeters). See Table at measurement.
  • n. A fall, as of rain or snow, sufficient to cover a surface to the depth of one inch.
  • n. A unit of atmospheric pressure that is equal to the pressure exerted by a one-inch column of mercury at the earth's surface at a temperature of 0°C.
  • n. A very small degree or amount: won't budge an inch.
  • transitive v. To move or cause to move slowly or by small degrees: inching along through stalled traffic; inched the chair forward.
  • idiom every inch In every respect; entirely: "Ay, every inch a king!” ( Shakespeare).
  • idiom inch by inch Very gradually or slowly.
  • idiom within an inch of Almost to the point of: came within an inch of death.
  • n. Scots A small island.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A unit of length equal to one-twelfth of a foot and equivalent to exactly 2.54 centimetres.
  • n. The amount of water which would cover a surface to the depth of an inch, used as a measurement of rainfall.
  • n. A very short distance.
  • v. To move very slowly (in a particular direction).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Measuring an inch in any dimension, whether length, breadth, or thickness; -- used in composition
  • n. An island; -- often used in the names of small islands off the coast of Scotland
  • n. 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.
  • n. A small distance or degree, whether of time or space; hence, a critical moment; also used metaphorically of minor concessins in bargaining.
  • intransitive v. To advance or retire by inches or small degrees; to move slowly.
  • transitive v. To drive by inches, or small degrees.
  • transitive v. To deal out by inches; to give sparingly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A lineal measure, the twelfth part of a foot.
  • n. Proverbially, a small quantity or degree; the least part or amount.
  • n. A critical moment.
  • Measuring an inch in any dimension, whether length, breadth, or thickness.
  • To drive or force by inches or small degrees: as, to inch one's way along.
  • To deal out by inches; give sparingly.
  • To mark with lines an inch apart.
  • To advance or retire by small degrees; move reluctantly or by inches: as, to inch away from the fire.
  • n. An island.
  • n. Abbreviations of inchoative.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. advance slowly, as if by inches
  • n. a unit of measurement for advertising space
  • n. a unit of length equal to one twelfth of a foot

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English ynce, from Latin ūncia, one twelfth of a unit; see oi-no- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Scottish Gaelic innis, from Old Irish inis.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English ynce, from Latin uncia ("twelfth part"). Compare ounce. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of ½ inch (1 cm) and not less than 3/8 inch, long and wide enough to cut out two 8 or 8 ½-inch (21 cm) discs.

    Jamie Schler: La Galette des Rois: A Cake Fit For A King

  • Trim all excess fat from steak and cut into-3 inch strips about ½-inch wide.

    In Search Of…

  • Cut the leeks lengthwise in half or in quarters if they are more than 1 inch thick, then slice them crosswise in ½-inch chunks.

    How To Cook Italian

  • Cut the leeks lengthwise in half or in quarters if they are more than 1 inch thick, then slice them crosswise into ½-inch chunks.

    How To Cook Italian

  • Cut the leeks lengthwise in half or in quarters if they are more than % inch thick, then slice them crosswise into ½-inch chunks.

    How To Cook Italian

  • Cut the leeks in half lengthwise or in quarters if they are more than 1 inch thick, then slice them crosswise into ½-inch pieces.

    How To Cook Italian

  • (G) Nut coal; divided into 3-inch steam nut, which passes through an opening 3 inches diameter and over 1¼ inches; 1¼ inch nut, which passes through a 1¼-inch diameter opening and over a ¾-inch diameter opening; ¾-inch nut, which passes through a ¾-inch diameter opening and over a 5/8-inch diameter opening.

    Steam, Its Generation and Use

  • Perpendicular recording, also known as PMR, has allows for much higher data density, expressed in gigabits per square inch (Gb/inch²).

    Tom's hardware UK

  • The drawings indicate the acrylic logo is cast in two parts: a 1-7/8 inch clear layer and a ¼-inch white layer.

    ifoAppleStore

  • The eight heavy-duty sockets suitable to use with a power impact wrench come in a slick case with pop-up holders for each socket, running from 7/16 to 7/8 of an inch, plus ¼-inch hex adapters.

    chicagotribune.com - News

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