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

  • n. A V-shaped cut.
  • n. Such a cut used for keeping a record.
  • n. A narrow pass between mountains.
  • n. Informal A level or degree: a notch or two higher in quality.
  • transitive v. To cut a notch in.
  • transitive v. To record by or as if by making notches: notched the score on a stick.
  • transitive v. Informal To achieve; score: notched 30 wins in a single season.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A V-shaped cut.
  • n. Such a cut, used for keeping a record
  • n. An indentation.
  • n. A mountain pass; a defile
  • n. A level or degree.
  • v. To cut a notch in (something).
  • v. To record (a score or similar) by making notches on something.
  • v. To join by means of notches.
  • v. : (transitive) To achieve (something).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hollow cut in anything; a nick; an indentation.
  • n. A narrow passage between two elevations; a deep, close pass; a defile.
  • transitive v. To cut or make notches in; to indent; also, to score by notches.
  • transitive v. To fit the notch of (an arrow) to the string.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut a notch or notches in; indent; nick; hack; as, to notch a stick.
  • To place in a notch; fit to a string by the notch, as an arrow.
  • In cricket, to mark or score; have as score the number of.
  • To make an undercut in (a tree) preparatory to felling (it). Also undercut.
  • n. A nick or indentation; a small hollow or nick cut or sunk in anything, as in the end of an arrow for the reception of the bowstring.
  • n. In carpentry, a hollow cut in the face of a piece of timber for the reception of another piece.
  • n. A narrow defile or passage between mountains; or, more properly, the entrance to such a defile, when it is nearly closed by precipices or walls of rock on either hand.
  • n. A step or degree; a grade.
  • n. A point in the game of cricket.
  • n. In zoology and anatomy, an incision or incisure; an emargination: as, the interclavicular notch, the depression over the breast-bone between the prominent ends of the clavicles.
  • n. In armor, the bouche of a shield.
  • n. The large notch of the maxilla that forms the lateral and lower boundary of the entrance to the nasal cavity.
  • n. The posterior or lower angle, formed by the meeting of the pubic bones. Same as pubic arch.
  • n. Same as undercut, 2.

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

  • v. cut or make a notch into
  • n. a V-shaped indentation
  • v. notch a surface to record something
  • n. the location in a range of mountains of a geological formation that is lower than the surrounding peaks
  • n. a small cut
  • n. a V-shaped or U-shaped indentation carved or scratched into a surface


Probably from a notch, alteration of an otch, from French oche, from Old French, from ochier, to notch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since 1577, probably a rebracketing of an + otch, which noun stems from Middle French oche ("notch"), itself from the Old French verb ochier ("to notch"), of unknown origin (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Please tell me that somewhere there's a list of these former two-word phrases.

    May 1, 2013

  • Ha! c.f. oche then, I suppose.

    April 30, 2013

  • The etymology is fun.

    April 25, 2013

  • Come again?

    April 25, 2013

  • Example: I have circled the proposed notch out location of the beam for coordination with structural.

    April 24, 2013