from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. by slow degrees, gradually.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adv. by a short distance
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The CH-53E exploded in a giant ball of flames—and lurched in midair, before it fell, dropping alongside the platform, its swirling rotor blades missing the lower levels of the platform by inches before the whole choppersmashed down in a crumpled heap on the sloping southern flank of the Great Pyramid itself.
And John Pym, who held it all together from London, fighting the cancer in his gut that was killing him by inches and which would have him in the ground before the year was out.
And he was coming, the Big Barbarian, at the double and tugging his hair; even while I crouched in that hellish cage, and while they were, dying by inches in the Board of Punishments, Grant was throwing aside his map and thrusting his sgian dhu into his boot, and Montauban was haranguing his poilus as they stuffed their cartridge-pouches.