Definition of in in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘In the early part of the year staff in the department took nearly six days off sick each.’
    • ‘Never soak brushes in water, commercial cleaners or even paint.’
    • ‘He was well known in the area but was a quiet type of man who went about his way in a gentle manner.’
    • ‘A century ago, there was hardly an educated woman in this part of the world.’
    • ‘The bride was in a striking off-white dress.’
    • ‘I have lived in Bolton for four years now and I enjoy walking around the town.’
    • ‘I'm from a very small town in Texas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the days get longer and the sun warms the air we begin to see activity in our ponds.’
    • ‘They want to hear from anyone living inthe area who may have seen or heard anything.’
    • ‘There was black smoke and I could hardly see anything but there was no-one in the room.’
    • ‘Jose arrived last night about 9 p.m., but we were all in bed.’
    • ‘He's standing in the street.’
    • ‘He's dressed in faded jeans and a navy T-shirt.’
    • ‘Once the marriage takes place, the woman is supposed to remain in the house while the man goes to work.’
    • ‘Nothing I did could make me an acceptable guest in that hotel without a credit card.’
    • ‘What is in that box?’
    inside, within, in the middle of, within the bounds of, within the confines of
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    1. 1.1Expressing 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’
      • ‘She arrived to be sentenced with her belongings packed in bags ready to take to jail.’
      • ‘Cuttings, leaves, plants, and uncooked fruit and vegetables can all be put in the green bin.’
      • ‘Mum should never have allowed me to be put in that situation, or at least given me some info on what to expect.’
      • ‘Store the potatoes for short periods in a dark cupboard.’
      • ‘He dropped anchor in the bay that fronts San Sebastian, the island's capital.’
      • ‘She also cannot manage the stairs or getting in and out of the bath so has a stairlift and a bathlift too.’
      • ‘I drove to Reno with my son and all the things I could fit in my car.’
      • ‘Upon inspection we discovered ants crawling in and out of every hole in the computer.’
      • ‘He cut her hair and then took her to a studio where he got some shots done to display in his salon.’
      • ‘There's a flurry to get them unloaded so people can get in the building.’
      • ‘There are people who walk in my office and see nothing but the dullest thing in the world.’
      • ‘From the cab's front view, we witness Iris get in the back.’
      • ‘He was given a security code by a member of staff who was fed up with letting them in and out of the building.’
      • ‘She climbed in the car, and the man drove to the next street.’
      • ‘It doesn't take a highly trained director to tell a few actresses to run in the woods and pretend to be scared.’
      • ‘The hordes of away fans were marshalled safely in and out of the ground by police.’
      • ‘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.’
      into, inside, into the interior of
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  • 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’
    • ‘Nobody who is associated with the bank in that period can come out with any credit.’
    • ‘I helped teach the role to Jane and Beth: they learnt it in a month.’
    • ‘Five years have passed since Daly held up the trophy and in that time much has changed.’
    • ‘Twice in the last few days I have been for walks on Dartmoor.’
    • ‘Most people come to my farm in the afternoon and have traveled a good distance to get there.’
    • ‘American courts in the nineteenth century demonstrated much broader standards of accountability than is the current practice.’
    • ‘He hadn't had a girlfriend in ages.’
    • ‘This scheme has done very well in the past.’
    • ‘It was around 4 o' clock in the afternoon and we wanted to have a snack before the show.’
    • ‘Nothing else was happening in January.’
    • ‘We have seen, in recent years, ambulance crews stoned by yobs as they try to go about their work.’
    • ‘I began the book in the summer of 1995.’
    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’
    • ‘That marriage contract said that in ten years, both of us could divorce and not have anything to do with each other.’
    • ‘Tessa will start school in three and a half years.’
    • ‘He's getting married in a few days.’
    • ‘They promised to come back in 60 days if nothing had been done to redress their grievances.’
    • ‘Experts agree that, with an election expected in less than a year's time, the Tories should be doing even better.’
    • ‘I'll make my mind up in a week or two's time.’
    • ‘She returned in ten minutes after she made sure the girls were fast asleep.’
    after, at the end of, following, subsequent to
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  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many people lined up for hours to see the movie only to come running out in horror before it was over.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Until the rose bushes are in bloom again, the earlier-flowering bulbs will provide a lively picture.’
    • ‘In reality, given human limitations, it can only be said we are doing the best we can.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He shook his head, in sadness and grief.’
    1. 4.1Indicating the quality or aspect with respect to which a judgement is made.
      ‘no discernible difference in quality’
      • ‘The content of the drawings, while generally clear and well-detailed, is variable in quality.’
      • ‘While lacking in merit as a decision-maker, he was extremely adroit in working the congressional funding process.’
  • 5Expressing inclusion or involvement.

    ‘I read it in a book’
    ‘acting in a film’
    • ‘Tom Hanks is set to star in the film.’
    • ‘Because marriage figures so prominently in her novels, much has been made of Austen's decision not to marry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The picture used in that billboard was actually the photo of Ibrahim on the cover of his solo album.’
    • ‘Some expressions of opinion in that newspaper and elsewhere fall between the two.’
    • ‘He was a huge hit in the comedy ‘Oh, God!’.’
    • ‘In the play, Herzen neither wins nor loses.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘I've been in computers for more than 15 years.’
    • ‘Jeff is working in sales for Southwest Landmark, Ohio.’
    • ‘It is four years since I was in politics.’
    • ‘He studied fine art at Nebraska University, completing his degree after service in the army in the First World War.’
    • ‘After college I went to work in libraries, while I waited for the position I wanted in fashion.’
    • ‘The recent scandal at the paper has affected all of us in the journalism profession.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She thought that he was the greatest master of the art of telling a story in pictures without words.’
    • ‘At that time I painted mostly in watercolor.’
    • ‘Create a job description, put it in writing and then discuss it with potential employees.’
    • ‘The questionnaire, in Spanish, took approximately 45 min to administer.’
    1. 7.1Indicating 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.’
      • ‘‘Eroica’ is the name of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in B Flat.’
      • ‘It begins in G minor but progresses to a different key, C major.’
  • 8[with verbal noun] As an integral part of (an activity)

    ‘in planning public expenditure it is better to be prudent’
    • ‘In comparing the results of this study with the database, it was determined that two species previously undocumented had been collected.’
    • ‘The organisation, in seeking to attract more male students to take up teaching, could have put their proposal forward as a special measure.’
    • ‘It would seem that the professor, in attempting to explain politics and religion to us, has lost his hold on common sense.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In announcing the program, Computershare pointed out the environmental benefits of reducing the use of valuable resources such as trees.’
  • 9Expressing a value as a proportion of (a whole)

    ‘a local income tax running at six pence in the pound’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps only one in twenty of the city's adult residents had been born there.’
    • ‘Anyone who is in that income bracket will pay tax at 19.5c in the dollar.’
    • ‘He projects a success rate of one in five - twice the norm.’
    to, per, every, each
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  • be in for

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

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

    • Feel a particular dislike of (someone) and behave in a hostile manner towards them.

      ‘she's had it in for me ever since our quarrel’
      • ‘Well, I certainly must admit that Daina seems to have it in for you guys.’
      • ‘I stand by the fact that I failed that class not through any fault of my own, but because the professor had it in for me.’
      • ‘I explained that Susan had it in for me since grade school and she was just making up stories to get everyone to hate me.’
      • ‘But she disagreed with people who claimed the judge had it in for Nik.’
      • ‘But don't think everybody has it in for you - some experts totally disagree.’
      • ‘‘At the moment it seems like they have got it in for small businesses,’ he said.’
      • ‘I don't know personally if the legal system does indeed have it in for dads.’
      • ‘The press have it in for him and I think it is pretty clear why - he represents one of the most despised figures of all for the London elite.’
      • ‘I am not by nature paranoid, at least no more than anyone else, however they really have got it in for me.’
      • ‘A big reason I have it in for her, if you want to call it that, is the misinformation effect when she does health readings, which I consider to be potentially very dangerous.’
      be hostile to, feel ill will towards, show ill will towards, show antagonism to, bear a grudge towards, be against, be set against, be prejudiced against, disapprove of
      persecute, pick on, push about, push around, lean on, bully, abuse, discriminate against, ill-treat, mistreat, maltreat, harass, hound, torment, terrorize, torture, punish unfairly
      have a down on, be down on, give someone a hard time, hassle, needle, get on someone's back, make things hot for someone
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  • in all

    • In total number; altogether.

      ‘there were about 5,000 people in all’
      • ‘In all, 10 candidates attended the Colloquium from a total of five countries.’
      • ‘We had a family meal (there were 14 of us in all) in a posh hotel.’
      • ‘In all, there are eight changes from the run-one side that beat Australia in Sydney.’
      • ‘There are three flats in all at the address and it seems to be quiet and secluded.’
      • ‘In all, 250 students from 25 colleges made it to the finals of various events organised as part of the festival.’
      • ‘There were four tents in all, three for the thirty male soldiers and one for the ten females.’
      • ‘It's just over a mile in all, and I arrive back wheezing for breath but alive and well.’
      • ‘There were, of course, wines to accompany this: 13 of them in all.’
      • ‘The caravans, up to twenty in all, were moved on by the weekend.’
      • ‘They each take turns telling stories, one hundred in all, in the garden.’
      in all, all told, in toto, taken together, in sum, counting them all
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  • 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 was in and out of the house on numerous occasions while the police were there.’
      • ‘She was in and out of hospital for the rest of her life and her paintings often depict her suffering.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a child, it was discovered I'd had a stroke and I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital.’
      • ‘For the next five years she was in and out of hospital and her schooling suffered due to long absences.’
      • ‘He has been in and out of special schools which have lacked the expertise to deal with him.’
      • ‘Her mother, who was in and out of hospital because of illness, rarely cuddled her.’
  • in on

    • Privy to (a secret).

      • ‘Ben must have been in on the secret too, because he refused to take off his clothes.’
      • ‘The filmmaker's intention is not to make fun of the audience but to let them in on the joke.’
      • ‘Yet if they did they sure as hell weren't letting us in on what should hardly have been a secret.’
      • ‘Neither party leader will even let their own public in on that, even if they had a clue.’
      • ‘Everybody likes to be in on a secret, in at the start of something big.’
      • ‘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
      wise to, clued in on, up on, in the know about, hip to, in the loop
      ware of
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  • in so far as

  • in that

    • For the reason that.

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

    • informal All the details.

      • ‘Whatever the ins and outs of it, everyone has known the documents were bogus for at least four months.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bear with me as I continue to learn about the ins and outs of blog design.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      details, particulars, facts, features, points, characteristics, traits, nuts and bolts, particularities
      intricacies, peculiarities, idiosyncrasies
      nitty gritty, abc, a to z
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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.