Main definitions of in in English

: in1In2IN3

in1

preposition

  • 1Expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded by something else.

    ‘I'm living in London’
    ‘dressed in their Sunday best’
    ‘she saw the bus in the rear-view mirror’
    • ‘I'm from a very small town in Texas.’
    • ‘I have lived in Bolton for four years now and I enjoy walking around the town.’
    • ‘Nothing I did could make me an acceptable guest in that hotel without a credit card.’
    • ‘The bride was in a striking off-white dress.’
    • ‘There was black smoke and I could hardly see anything but there was no-one in the room.’
    • ‘What is in that box?’
    • ‘He's dressed in faded jeans and a navy T-shirt.’
    • ‘He was well known in the area but was a quiet type of man who went about his way in a gentle manner.’
    • ‘Once the marriage takes place, the woman is supposed to remain in the house while the man goes to work.’
    • ‘As the days get longer and the sun warms the air we begin to see activity in our ponds.’
    • ‘Jose arrived last night about 9 p.m., but we were all in bed.’
    • ‘Never soak brushes in water, commercial cleaners or even paint.’
    • ‘A century ago, there was hardly an educated woman in this part of the world.’
    • ‘In the early part of the year staff in the department took nearly six days off sick each.’
    • ‘And while all of this is going on I'm having to move out of my flat - a place I've been in for 4 years.’
    • ‘They want to hear from anyone living inthe area who may have seen or heard anything.’
    • ‘He's standing in the street.’
    inside, within, in the middle of, within the bounds of, within the confines of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Expressing motion with the result that something ends up within or surrounded by something else.
      ‘don't put coal in the bath’
      ‘he got in his car and drove off’
      • ‘He was given a security code by a member of staff who was fed up with letting them in and out of the building.’
      • ‘Store the potatoes for short periods in a dark cupboard.’
      • ‘There are people who walk in my office and see nothing but the dullest thing in the world.’
      • ‘He cut her hair and then took her to a studio where he got some shots done to display in his salon.’
      • ‘She arrived to be sentenced with her belongings packed in bags ready to take to jail.’
      • ‘Upon inspection we discovered ants crawling in and out of every hole in the computer.’
      • ‘She also cannot manage the stairs or getting in and out of the bath so has a stairlift and a bathlift too.’
      • ‘He dropped anchor in the bay that fronts San Sebastian, the island's capital.’
      • ‘The hordes of away fans were marshalled safely in and out of the ground by police.’
      • ‘From the cab's front view, we witness Iris get in the back.’
      • ‘One of the great attractions of the traditional paddling pool is being able to jump in it.’
      • ‘The surf was good, the waves big enough to make me keep a close eye on the dog as he ran in and out of the water.’
      • ‘She climbed in the car, and the man drove to the next street.’
      • ‘Mum should never have allowed me to be put in that situation, or at least given me some info on what to expect.’
      • ‘I drove to Reno with my son and all the things I could fit in my car.’
      • ‘There's a flurry to get them unloaded so people can get in the building.’
      • ‘Cuttings, leaves, plants, and uncooked fruit and vegetables can all be put in the green bin.’
      • ‘It doesn't take a highly trained director to tell a few actresses to run in the woods and pretend to be scared.’
      into, inside, into the interior of
      View synonyms
  • 2Expressing a period of time during which an event happens or a situation remains the case.

    ‘they met in 1885’
    ‘at one o'clock in the morning’
    ‘I hadn't seen him in years’
    • ‘I helped teach the role to Jane and Beth: they learnt it in a month.’
    • ‘Most people come to my farm in the afternoon and have traveled a good distance to get there.’
    • ‘He hadn't had a girlfriend in ages.’
    • ‘Nothing else was happening in January.’
    • ‘American courts in the nineteenth century demonstrated much broader standards of accountability than is the current practice.’
    • ‘I began the book in the summer of 1995.’
    • ‘Twice in the last few days I have been for walks on Dartmoor.’
    • ‘It was around 4 o' clock in the afternoon and we wanted to have a snack before the show.’
    • ‘Five years have passed since Daly held up the trophy and in that time much has changed.’
    • ‘We have seen, in recent years, ambulance crews stoned by yobs as they try to go about their work.’
    • ‘Nobody who is associated with the bank in that period can come out with any credit.’
    • ‘This scheme has done very well in the past.’
    during, in the course of, in the time of, over
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  • 3Expressing the length of time before a future event is expected to happen.

    ‘I'll see you in fifteen minutes’
    • ‘Experts agree that, with an election expected in less than a year's time, the Tories should be doing even better.’
    • ‘He's getting married in a few days.’
    • ‘Tessa will start school in three and a half years.’
    • ‘She returned in ten minutes after she made sure the girls were fast asleep.’
    • ‘That marriage contract said that in ten years, both of us could divorce and not have anything to do with each other.’
    • ‘They promised to come back in 60 days if nothing had been done to redress their grievances.’
    • ‘I'll make my mind up in a week or two's time.’
    after, at the end of, following, subsequent to
    View synonyms
  • 4(often followed by a noun without a determiner) expressing a state or condition.

    ‘to be in love’
    ‘I've got to put my affairs in order’
    ‘a woman in her thirties’
    • ‘Until the rose bushes are in bloom again, the earlier-flowering bulbs will provide a lively picture.’
    • ‘He shook his head, in sadness and grief.’
    • ‘I was madly in love with her and I was pretty sure she was in love with me.’
    • ‘I first read the book when I was in my twenties.’
    • ‘Many people lined up for hours to see the movie only to come running out in horror before it was over.’
    • ‘Still, I live in hope that one day I might get my money.’
    • ‘Alfalfa fields range in height from 8 to 18 inches and look very good.’
    • ‘In reality, given human limitations, it can only be said we are doing the best we can.’
    • ‘Her affair with Duchamp continued in secrecy until 1950, when she returned to Brazil.’
    • ‘He had been in good health apart from the angina and had not smoked for 17 years.’
    1. 4.1 Indicating the quality or aspect with respect to which a judgement is made.
      ‘no discernible difference in quality’
      • ‘While lacking in merit as a decision-maker, he was extremely adroit in working the congressional funding process.’
      • ‘The content of the drawings, while generally clear and well-detailed, is variable in quality.’
  • 5Expressing inclusion or involvement.

    ‘I read it in a book’
    ‘acting in a film’
    • ‘Tom Hanks is set to star in the film.’
    • ‘Some expressions of opinion in that newspaper and elsewhere fall between the two.’
    • ‘The picture used in that billboard was actually the photo of Ibrahim on the cover of his solo album.’
    • ‘He was a huge hit in the comedy ‘Oh, God!’.’
    • ‘Because marriage figures so prominently in her novels, much has been made of Austen's decision not to marry.’
    • ‘In the play, Herzen neither wins nor loses.’
    • ‘Williams has examined this literature in her book Ten Lectures on Theories of the Dance.’
    • ‘Those who don't know him better could be forgiven for missing the irony in that expression.’
    • ‘However, there is no reason to think that the claims in that material are unjustified.’
  • 6Indicating someone's occupation or profession.

    ‘she works in publishing’
    • ‘It is four years since I was in politics.’
    • ‘The recent scandal at the paper has affected all of us in the journalism profession.’
    • ‘After college I went to work in libraries, while I waited for the position I wanted in fashion.’
    • ‘I've been in computers for more than 15 years.’
    • ‘Jeff is working in sales for Southwest Landmark, Ohio.’
    • ‘He studied fine art at Nebraska University, completing his degree after service in the army in the First World War.’
  • 7Indicating the language or medium used.

    ‘say it in French’
    ‘put it in writing’
    • ‘A defamatory statement is libel if it is in permanent form such as writing or pictures.’
    • ‘She thought that he was the greatest master of the art of telling a story in pictures without words.’
    • ‘Create a job description, put it in writing and then discuss it with potential employees.’
    • ‘The website will offer information not only online but also in PDF format, which allows the user to access then print information.’
    • ‘The student could barely put a sentence together in English.’
    • ‘At that time I painted mostly in watercolor.’
    • ‘The questionnaire, in Spanish, took approximately 45 min to administer.’
    1. 7.1 Indicating the key in which a piece of music is written.
      ‘Mozart's Piano Concerto in E flat’
      • ‘This leads to an extended coda, also in C minor, which gradually works its way back to the G minor key.’
      • ‘It begins in G minor but progresses to a different key, C major.’
      • ‘‘Eroica’ is the name of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in B Flat.’
  • 8with verbal noun As an integral part of (an activity)

    ‘in planning public expenditure it is better to be prudent’
    • ‘In announcing the program, Computershare pointed out the environmental benefits of reducing the use of valuable resources such as trees.’
    • ‘It would seem that the professor, in attempting to explain politics and religion to us, has lost his hold on common sense.’
    • ‘The organisation, in seeking to attract more male students to take up teaching, could have put their proposal forward as a special measure.’
    • ‘In comparing the results of this study with the database, it was determined that two species previously undocumented had been collected.’
    • ‘I was not prepared for the variety of approvals and difficulties that came about in building a golf course.’
    • ‘I sacrifice the old to make way for the new and in doing so, I gain spiritual wisdom.’
  • 9Expressing a value as a proportion of (a whole)

    ‘a local income tax running at six pence in the pound’
    • ‘Perhaps only one in twenty of the city's adult residents had been born there.’
    • ‘He projects a success rate of one in five - twice the norm.’
    • ‘The proposed scheme will involve writing off most of the company's £ 11.4 million debt and, if approved, unsecured creditors will lose 90p in the pound.’
    • ‘Anyone who is in that income bracket will pay tax at 19.5c in the dollar.’
    to, per, every, each
    View synonyms

adverb

  • 1Expressing movement with the result that someone or something becomes enclosed or surrounded by something else.

    ‘come in’
    ‘presently the admiral breezed in’
    • ‘There he burst in on an astonished young American couple and ran past them into a bedroom.’
    • ‘Mr Gilburn, who failed to appear in court, is thought to have moved in with a friend who lives locally.’
    • ‘Apparently, we are going to be able to put plastic in with our cans and bottles.’
    • ‘Two weeks later, I had another appointment in the city and I was supposed to go in with my son again.’
    • ‘They were finally caught out when one brother got their shifts mixed up and walked in on a romantic meal for two.’
    • ‘‘Anna! Are you alright?’ Evan asked, jumping in after me.’
    • ‘I think the child had been feeding the ducks when he fell in.’
    • ‘He was in New York for the premiere of Tommy in 1975 and had decided to pop in on his admirer while he was in town.’
    • ‘The phone line for the office was put in on time and later today I am hoping to set up my internet connection.’
    • ‘I was the one who didn't want to get too serious, so I was surprised when he asked me to move in with him.’
    • ‘I had no idea he was going to be there until he walked in with his girlfriend.’
    • ‘Within the walls of the medina, the buildings close in on you, and you are taken into cool shadow.’
    • ‘The we went in and sat down and lots of other people were there.’
    • ‘If you'd been here an hour ago, you'd have seen the girl come in with her friend.’
    • ‘The story goes that he was working in a café one night when a pop star popped in for some grub.’
    • ‘Teams are reminded that bonus points are not awarded when the result card is not sent in on time.’
    inside, indoors, into the interior, into the building, into the house, into the room, within
    View synonyms
  • 2Expressing the situation of being enclosed or surrounded by something.

    ‘we were locked in’
    • ‘Cases of domestic violence rose as families stayed in on New Year's Eve to avoid the bad weather.’
    • ‘Shut in with his cronies, he sees the world as his enemy and opposition to his will as personal affront.’
    • ‘Staying in on a day like this is criminal.’
    • ‘She turned to the government for help and they found her an apartment for her to live in.’
    • ‘She had previously enjoyed food with nuts in, including breakfast cereals, and she had eaten chicken curries at other restaurants.’
    • ‘We've had them for a good few years now - they were in with another box of books we bought.’
    • ‘Kathy gave me a cup of tea with sugar in to help calm me.’
    • ‘Sixth grade was handled by general instructors, and each class was locked in with one instructor all day long.’
  • 3Expressing arrival.

    ‘the train got in very late’
    • ‘Bearing in mind the flight is due in at 11.20 pm, you'll watch its progress on the internet up to 20 minutes before it's due to land.’
    • ‘I'm a bit disappointed that my flight out is Friday afternoon, which allowing for time differences gets in at 8pm.’
    • ‘Their first pieces of work would be due in on Wednesday or Thursday of first week.’
    • ‘Becky's train actually managed to get in on time.’
    • ‘Entries must be in by 5pm.’
  • 4(of the tide) rising or at its highest level.

    • ‘The tide was in, and the breakers were a good twenty feet high when they hit the harbour wall.’
    • ‘Night had fallen, and the tide was in.’
    • ‘The tide came in and floated our canoes.’
    • ‘The tide was coming in and people moved their blankets up the beach.’
    high, at its highest level, rising
    View synonyms

adjective

  • 1predicative Present at one's home or office.

    ‘we knocked at the door but there was no one in’
    • ‘The lads upstairs were having a sports night in with, I suspect, more than a few beers.’
    • ‘He does little else; his idea of a good time is a night in with some scouting reports.’
    • ‘I've only been in for five minutes and I stumble across a wedding party.’
    • ‘I'm not in on Monday.’
    • ‘Suffice it to say that his press conferences have all the allure of a night in with the prime minister.’
    • ‘It is now 10:00 am, and I've only been in for about 20 minutes.’
    present, home, at home
    View synonyms
  • 2informal Fashionable.

    ‘pastels and light colours are in this year’
    ‘the in thing to do’
    • ‘In addition to statement T-shirts, graphic T-shirts are in this year.’
    • ‘Luigi's was a large and crowded restaurant that was clearly the in place for the in-crowd.’
    • ‘This year, monochromatic colors are the in thing.’
    • ‘Way back when beards were in, mawkish mystics brought forth the concept album.’
    • ‘He even let his membership lapse at Au Bar, the in club.’
    • ‘The very in words are slammin' and rockin'.’
    fashionable, in fashion, in vogue, voguish, stylish, in style, popular, up to date, bang up to date, up to the minute, modern, modish, trendsetting, chic
    View synonyms
  • 3predicative (of the ball in tennis and similar games) landing within the designated playing area.

    • ‘I don't think I got any first serves in today.’
    • ‘As you can see, I held my finish and barely looked up even as the ball went in.’
    • ‘Before I even came off the pick, I felt the shot was in.’
  • 4Cricket
    predicative Batting.

    ‘which side is in?’
    • ‘An analysis of his 53 centuries shows that in these innings he made 72% of the runs put on while he was in.’

noun

informal
  • A position of influence with someone powerful or famous.

    ‘she got an in with the promising new artist’
    • ‘For him, an in with the Bush family is worth more than anything lottery players have in their hand’
    • ‘The company has an in with the private club in Switzerland.’
    • ‘He has an in to the presidential process.’
    • ‘It never hurts to have an in with your head coach.’
    • ‘I have never, never had an in at a bar before, where you can cut to the front of the line and get free tabs and stuff.’
    • ‘Once you've got an in with the right guys, they don't need to see a full script before, in theory, they start giving you development cash.’
    • ‘For years, people have begged distant relatives concerning even the possibility of anyone knowing someone who has an in with owner Frank Sr.’
    • ‘They knew, from endless meetings and conferences, which people they needed on their team, which people had an in with which interest groups, and who could help them in certain places.’
    • ‘The notably venerated violinist who gave him an in at the National Theater, where he soon found a niche.’
    • ‘Tim might have an in with this agent or something because of his dad.’

Phrases

  • be in for

    • 1Have good reason to expect (something, typically something unpleasant)

      ‘she's in for a shock’
      • ‘But the critics who long for Johnson's departure may be in for an unpleasant surprise.’
      • ‘Unless I get this message across, large numbers of you will be in for a shock when your February bill arrives.’
      • ‘These fine visitors, I thought, were in for what I can only describe as a culinary comeuppance.’
      • ‘I had no clue what to expect, and I certainly didn't know what I was in for.’
      • ‘However, the two of them were in for quite a startling surprise.’
      • ‘I had to feel slightly sorry for the die-hard fans among them who didn't know yet what they were in for.’
      • ‘I shuddered inwardly, knowing what I was in for.’
      • ‘Anyone who buys this album expecting gentle country wailing will be in for the rudest of shocks.’
      • ‘If he were to visit the shabby military compound, he might be in for an unpleasant surprise.’
      • ‘CBI members must have known what they were in for when they elected him.’
      due for, in line for, likely to receive
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Have good reason to expect trouble or retribution.
        • ‘I knew I was in for it the moment I saw the look on his face.’
        • ‘We knew we were in for it and we had to be ready.’
        • ‘Our strength and conditioning coach came on this trip, so we knew we were in for it.’
        • ‘Walking up his driveway everything seemed normal, but when he opened the door, he knew he was in for it.’
        • ‘Denise was in for it now, Carol would spread those rumours again.’
        • ‘He looked a little hot around the collar, then his eyes narrowed and the corners of his mouth tilted up in an expression that told her she was in for it.’
        • ‘He would surely be in for it now; running away, then causing no end of trouble.’
        • ‘But whatever's wrong you two had better work it out before Adrien finds out or you'll both be in for it.’
        • ‘By the time Artie got off the call, Gloria knew she was in for it.’
        • ‘But for us, we generally have one self-defense weapon, and if that doesn't work, we could be in for it.’
        in trouble, about to be punished, about to suffer the consequences, about to pay the price, in for a scolding
        View synonyms
  • in and out of

    • Being a frequent visitor to (a house) or frequent inmate of (an institution)

      ‘they were in and out of each other's houses all day’
      ‘he was in and out of jail for most of his twenties’
      • ‘He has been in and out of special schools which have lacked the expertise to deal with him.’
      • ‘My mother might have had the misery of housework, but at least there were grown-ups in and out of the house all day.’
      • ‘He spent the rest of his life in and out of mental institutions, his serious work at an end.’
      • ‘The baby had whooping cough and had been in and out of hospital since birth.’
      • ‘Sadly, the disease really started to take hold at the end of November and she was in and out of hospital.’
      • ‘As a child, it was discovered I'd had a stroke and I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital.’
      • ‘She was in and out of hospital for the rest of her life and her paintings often depict her suffering.’
      • ‘He was in and out of the house on numerous occasions while the police were there.’
      • ‘For the next five years she was in and out of hospital and her schooling suffered due to long absences.’
      • ‘Her mother, who was in and out of hospital because of illness, rarely cuddled her.’
  • in on

    • Privy to (a secret).

      • ‘The filmmaker's intention is not to make fun of the audience but to let them in on the joke.’
      • ‘Ben must have been in on the secret too, because he refused to take off his clothes.’
      • ‘Everybody likes to be in on a secret, in at the start of something big.’
      • ‘Neither party leader will even let their own public in on that, even if they had a clue.’
      • ‘Yet if they did they sure as hell weren't letting us in on what should hardly have been a secret.’
      • ‘That we hear not even a peep from him is presumably due to the fact that too many sponsors and cronies are in on the great land scam.’
      privy to, aware of, acquainted with, informed about, informed of, advised of, apprised of, mindful of, sensible of
      View synonyms
  • in that

    • For the reason that.

      ‘I was fortunate in that I had friends’
      • ‘A pillar of the Kirk, he was also unique among journalists in that he hardly ever swore.’
      • ‘We have a problem in that there is a lack of places for this age group to go.’
      • ‘In many ways they are three of a kind in that they are all touched with a little eccentricity.’
      • ‘It will differ from normal halls of residence in that each bedroom will have its own front door.’
      • ‘It's a concept album in that it tells a story - albeit with a rather lame twist at the end.’
      • ‘It is also unusual in that the hoof on the fifth leg is divided into three, rather than the normal two.’
      • ‘My sport is a bit like being a goalkeeper in that you have to be mentally strong.’
      • ‘He was lucky in that it didn't develop into anything else and he didn't have to go to hospital.’
      • ‘The Lib Dems are an unusual party in that they start local and expand to the national.’
      • ‘Rose was also fortunate in that he had an early start when there was no wind.’
  • in with

    • informal On friendly terms with.

      ‘the Krays were in with a couple of MPs’
      • ‘He mentioned that he was well in with the warder.’
      • ‘In his opinion, if you were in with that crowd, then you were too far gone for saving.’
      • ‘She was led astray by her desire to be in with the young … and to distance herself from old politicians.’
      • ‘He claimed to be so well in with the prime minister that he and his wife had been invited to Chequers.’
      in favour, popular, friendly, friends
      View synonyms
  • the ins and outs

    • informal All the details.

      • ‘Bear with me as I continue to learn about the ins and outs of blog design.’
      • ‘She also wants residents to learn the ins and outs of housing and benefit schemes, and to impart their wisdom to fellow prisoners.’
      • ‘We outline each exercise in detail and walk you through the ins and outs of your training, week by week.’
      • ‘It would take pages and hours for me to go into the ins and outs of the Irish literary canon, so I'll leave it at that for now.’
      • ‘Without knowing the ins and outs of the legislation, I am broadly in favour of unions, and of not sacking people without a reason.’
      • ‘So he'll be able to get you up to speed on Wednesday and explain all the ins and outs of it as the results come in Thursday evening.’
      • ‘I think in the past a lot of these operations were done unnecessarily perhaps, although I don't know the ins and outs of the cases myself.’
      • ‘They got together with a collective of media professionals and taught themselves the ins and outs of radio production.’
      • ‘Without going into all the ins and outs of the story, Dean seems to have played it by the book at every point.’
      • ‘Whatever the ins and outs of it, everyone has known the documents were bogus for at least four months.’
      details, particulars, facts, features, points, characteristics, traits, nuts and bolts, particularities
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English in (preposition), inn, inne (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German in (preposition), German ein (adverb), from an Indo-European root shared by Latin in and Greek en.

Pronunciation

in

/ɪn/

Main definitions of in in English

: in1In2IN3

In2

  • The chemical element indium.

Main definitions of in in English

: in1In2IN3

IN3

  • Indiana (in official postal use).