from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A jointed or flexible device that allows the turning or pivoting of a part, such as a door or lid, on a stationary frame.
  • noun A similar structure or part, such as one that enables the valves of a bivalve mollusk to open and close.
  • noun A small folded paper rectangle gummed on one side, used especially to fasten stamps in an album.
  • noun A point or circumstance on which subsequent events depend.
  • intransitive verb To attach by or equip with or as if with hinges or a hinge.
  • intransitive verb To consider or make (something) dependent on something else; predicate.
  • intransitive verb To be contingent on a single factor; depend.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To furnish with hinges; join by means of hinges, literally or figuratively.
  • To bend the hinge or hinges of.
  • Figuratively, to cause to depend: as, to hinge one's acceptance upon some future event.
  • To stand, depend, or turn on or as if on a hinge: chiefly figurative.
  • noun In botany, the flexible lamella of the guard-cells of a stoma which renders them mobile.
  • noun An artificial movable joint; a device for joining two pieces in such a manner that one may be turned upon the other; the articulation of a door, gate, shutter, lid, etc., to its support, or of two equally movable parts, as of a fire-screen, to each other.
  • noun A natural movable joint; an anatomical articulation turning in a single plane, as that of the knee or of a bivalve shell. See hinge-joint, and cut under bivalve.
  • noun Figuratively, that on which anything depends or turns; a cardinal or controlling principle, rule, or point.
  • noun One of the cardinal points, north, south, east, or west.
  • noun In entomology, the cardo or basal part of the maxilla. See cut under Insecta.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To attach by, or furnish with, hinges.
  • transitive verb obsolete To bend.
  • intransitive verb To stand, depend, hang, or turn, as on a hinge; to depend chiefly for a result or decision or for force and validity; -- usually with on or upon.
  • noun The hook with its eye, or the joint, on which a door, gate, lid, etc., turns or swings; a flexible piece, as a strip of leather, which serves as a joint to turn on.
  • noun That on which anything turns or depends; a governing principle; a cardinal point or rule.
  • noun rare One of the four cardinal points, east, west, north, or south.
  • noun (Anat.), (Mech.) Any joint resembling a hinge, by which two pieces are connected so as to permit relative turning in one plane.
  • noun to be in a state of disorder or irregularity; to have lost proper adjustment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A jointed or flexible device that allows the pivoting of a door etc. See also pintel.
  • noun A stamp hinge, a folded and gummed paper rectangle for affixing postage stamps in an album.
  • noun A point in time, on which subsequent events depend.
  • noun statistics The median of the upper or lower half of a batch, sample, or probability distribution.
  • verb transitive To attach by, or equip with a hinge.
  • verb intransitive To depend on something.
  • verb transitive archaeology The breaking off of the distal end of a knapped stone flake whose presumed course across the face of the stone core was truncated prematurely, leaving not a feathered distal end but instead the scar of a nearly perpendicular break.

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

  • verb attach with a hinge
  • noun a circumstance upon which subsequent events depend
  • noun a joint that holds two parts together so that one can swing relative to the other


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

[Middle English henge; see konk- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English henge, from Old English *henge, compare Old English henge- in hengeclif ("overhanging cliff"), hengen ("hanging"). Akin to Low German henge ("a hook, hinge, handle"), Middle Dutch henghe, hanghe ("a hook, hinge, handle"), Dutch hengel ("hook"), geheng ("hinge"), hengsel ("hinge"), German dialectal hängel ("hook, joint"), German Henkel ("handle, hook"), Old English hōn ("to hang"), hangian ("to cause to hang, hang up"). More at hang.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word hinge.



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

  • In the rare/antique book biz, the joint (outer or inner) of the binding of a book (the part that bends when you open the book).

    February 21, 2007

  • cardinal=hinge

    (in one sense of the word)

    September 30, 2007

  • In stamp collecting, a small, rectangular-shaped piece of glassine paper, usually with adhesive on one side. When folded with the adhesive side out, the hinge is used to mount stamps. Most modern hinges are peelable, and once dry, they may be easily removed from the stamp, leaving little trace of having been applied.

    August 25, 2008

  • The liver and pluck of a sheep for dogs' meat. --old provincial term from the west of England. Grose's A Provincial Glossary, 1787.

    May 5, 2011