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From Middle English pinchen, from Old French *pinchier, pincer (“to pinch”), from Vulgar Latin *pinci?re (“to puncture, pinch”), from possible merger of *puncti?re (“a puncture, sting”), from Latin puncti? (“a puncture, prick”) and *picc?re (“to strike, sting”), from Frankish *pikk?n, from Proto-Germanic *pikk?n? (“to pick, peck, prick”).
- To squeeze a small amount of a person's skin and flesh, making it hurt.
- To squeeze between the thumb and forefinger.
- To squeeze between two objects.
- To steal, usually of something almost trivial or inconsequential.
- (slang) To arrest or capture.
- (horticulture) To cut shoots or buds of a plant in order to shape the plant, or to improve its yield.
- (nautical) To sail so close-hauled that the sails begin to flutter.
- (hunting) To take hold; to grip, as a dog does.
- (obsolete) To be niggardly or covetous.
- To seize; to grip; to bite; said of animals.
- (figuratively) To cramp; to straiten; to oppress; to starve.
- To move, as a railroad car, by prying the wheels with a pinch.
- (obsolete) To complain or find fault.
pinch (plural pinches)
- The action of squeezing a small amount of a person's skin and flesh, making it hurt.
- A close compression of anything with the fingers.
- A small amount of powder or granules, such that the amount could be held between fingertip and thumb tip.
- An awkward situation of some kind (especially money or social) which is difficult to escape.
- An organic herbal smoke additive.
- (physics) A magnetic compression of an electrically-conducting filament.
- The narrow part connecting the two bulbs of an hourglass.
- (slang) An arrest.