pinch
Pronunciation Verb

pinch (pinches, present participle pinching; past and past participle pinched)

  1. To squeeze a small amount of a person's skin and flesh, making it hurt.
    The children were scolded for pinching each other.
    This shoe pinches my foot.
  2. To squeeze between the thumb and forefinger.
  3. To squeeze between two objects.
  4. To steal, usually of something almost trivial or inconsequential.
    Someone has pinched my handkerchief!
  5. (slang) To arrest or capture.
  6. (horticulture) To cut shoots or buds of a plant in order to shape the plant, or to improve its yield.
  7. (nautical) To sail so close-hauled that the sails begin to flutter.
  8. (hunting) To take hold; to grip, as a dog does.
  9. (obsolete, intransitive) To be stingy or covetous; to live sparingly.
    • the wretch whom avarice bids to pinch and spare
  10. To seize; to grip; to bite; said of animals.
    • He [the hound] pinched and pulled her down.
  11. (figurative) To cramp; to straiten; to oppress; to starve.
    to be pinched for money
    • want of room […] pinching a whole nation
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture 2:
      The Christian also spurns the pinched and mumping sick-room attitude, and the lives of saints are full of a kind of callousness to diseased conditions of body which probably no other human records show.
  12. To move, as a railroad car, by prying the wheels with a pinch.
  13. (obsolete) To complain or find fault.
    • 1809, Alexander Chalmers ed. The Works of the English Poets, from Cahucer to Cowper, Vol. 1, modern rendering of poem imputed to Geoffrey Chaucer, "A Ballad which Chaucer made in Praise or rather Dispraise of Women for their Doubleness":
      Therefore who so them accuse
      Of any double entencion,
      To speake, rowne, other to muse,
      To pinch at their condicion,
      All is but false collusion,
      I dare rightwell the sothe express,
      They have no better protection,
      But shrowd them vnder doubleness.
Translations Translations Translations Noun

pinch (plural pinches)

  1. The action of squeezing a small amount of a person's skin and flesh, making it hurt.
  2. A close compression of anything with the fingers.
    I gave the leather of the sofa a pinch, gauging the texture.
  3. A small amount of powder or granules, such that the amount could be held between fingertip and thumb tip.
  4. An awkward situation of some kind (especially money or social) which is difficult to escape.
    • 1955, Rex Stout, "Die Like a Dog", in Three Witnesses, October 1994 Bantam edition, ISBN 0553249592, page 171:
      It took nerve and muscle both to carry the body out and down the stairs to the lower hall, but he damn well had to get it out of his place and away from his door, and any of those four could have done it in a pinch, and it sure was a pinch.
  5. A metal bar used as a lever for lifting weights, rolling wheels, etc.
  6. An organic herbal smoke additive.
  7. (physics) A magnetic compression of an electrically-conducting filament.
  8. The narrow part connecting the two bulbs of an hourglass.
    • 2001, Terry Pratchett: Thief of Time:
      It looked like an hourglass, but all those little glittering shapes tumbling through the pinch were seconds.
  9. (slang) An arrest.
Translations Translations Translations


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