Definition of pinch in English:

pinch

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Grip (something, typically someone's flesh) tightly and sharply between finger and thumb.

    ‘she pinched his cheek’
    • ‘She looked at him blankly until her god sister pinched her arm.’
    • ‘I pull him closer, pinching his scrawny bottom.’
    • ‘He grabbed my right cheek and pinched it before going up the stairs.’
    • ‘He looked at me, and put a strong firm hand under my chin grabbing the skin with his fingers pinching it there.’
    • ‘This time, he got up and grabbed his teacher's cheeks and pinched them.’
    • ‘Evan noticed my reaction to his smile and pinched the skin behind my arm.’
    • ‘Try pinching the skin near the itch between your thumb and forefinger through your clothing; this is less damaging than actual scratching.’
    • ‘The tongs pinch your skin and a gauge measures the hunk of flesh in millimeters.’
    • ‘How much of the universe can you pinch between your thumb and finger?’
    • ‘If you can see it biting you, you simply pinch the skin on either side of its proboscus, which means it can't extract it and fly away.’
    • ‘I pinched Elle's arm as discreetly as could, and got a nudge back.’
    • ‘Her friends encouraged her and Megan reached over to pinch the skin on the back of Rick's kneecap.’
    • ‘I'm still in disbelief, and keep looking at the ring on my finger, pinching myself!’
    • ‘I begin to mutter something along those lines and begin pinching myself - just trying to wake up.’
    • ‘If the skin is crushed, or very tightly pinched or squeezed, a blood blister may form.’
    • ‘His hand clamped around her neck loosely but his thumb was pinching her skin against the wall.’
    • ‘She shut them tightly and pinched herself, opening them she knew she wasn't dreaming.’
    • ‘She sighed and rumbled softly while I showed her how to rub and pinch flesh between the fingers, how to read the muscles.’
    • ‘He leaned over again and trailed his lips down Edge's neck, his fingers now gently pinching the sensitive flesh.’
    • ‘Only a tiny whimper from pain as she fallen on her rump, the wood pinching her bare flesh.’
    nip, tweak, squeeze, compress, grasp
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Use the fingers to remove (a bud or leaves) from a plant to encourage bushy growth.
      • ‘In summer, pinch out the top 2 inches of growing canes that are approximately 18 to 36 inches tall.’
      • ‘Once plants reach the top of the trellis, pinch out the growing point of the plant.’
      • ‘When plants reach about 12 inches tall, pinch out about an inch of top growth to encourage branching and more blooms.’
      • ‘Inspect and groom plants weekly and pinch them lightly to shape.’
      • ‘As summer wears on, continue pinching stem tips often to delay flowering.’
      • ‘This is also the time to remove your plants and trim or pinch the old growth and all yellowing leaves off.’
      • ‘If your plants are spindly, pinch out the top center stem.’
      • ‘To encourage larger growth of the biggest blossoms, pinch out the smaller blossoms regularly.’
      • ‘Plants were pinched back to four leaves after 1 week and then were managed as stock plants.’
      • ‘Be sure to include enough plants in the combination to balance out the tallest specimens, then pinch and train the plants to encourage bushy growth.’
      • ‘To keep the plant bushy, pinch off the top few inches of new growth.’
      • ‘This combination of mulch and pinching leaves will help keep soil-borne disease pathogens from splashing up onto plant leaves during rain storms or watering.’
      • ‘As indoor tomato plants grow taller, make sure they are properly staked and that the side shots are pinched out to encourage the plant to grow tall.’
      • ‘On tomatoes, pinch out all side shoots at leaf axils when they are about an inch long.’
      • ‘To harvest the plant, simply pinch or cut the leaves off with a knife.’
      • ‘The first summer, pinch the stem tips back two or three times to encourage strong branching.’
      • ‘For bedding plants, pinch off only the first few buds as flower size is less important as mass display.’
      • ‘I want to smell a new fragrance, pluck a cherry tomato, pinch a mint leaf, experience the significance of life with each step.’
      • ‘Remove all rootstock suckers or low-growing branches, and pinch the main stems to keep the height manageable.’
      • ‘If young plants are leggy, pinch off new growth to encourage bushiness.’
    2. 1.2 (of a shoe) hurt (a foot) by being too tight.
      • ‘I look over at the closet and scan the rows of shoes there, the shoes that hurt my feet, pinch my toes, make me wobble and have to hold on to Tony for balance and support.’
      • ‘She descended the stairs carefully because the shoes were pinching her feet.’
      • ‘The knees ain't what they used to be; feet ache a bit now and then when shoes pinch; and the hips, well, they're okay I suppose.’
      • ‘I had gotten rid of my shoes, they were too small, and they were pinching at my feet.’
      • ‘The obvious and the ordinary were shoes that pinched his feet.’
      • ‘But lately it's pinched his toes and left unsightly blisters, and now he finds himself venturing off to New York to see if it can be refitted.’
      • ‘There's no point in buying shoes that will pinch your toes and cramp your feet all day long.’
      • ‘No matter that pointy shoes pinch your toes something rotten (so I'm told), last year people were happy to suffer them in the name of fashion.’
      • ‘Famous saying goes that ‘Only you yourself know whether your shoes pinch,’ but a new breed of shoe advisers would beg to differ with this line.’
      • ‘I made a quick mental note to never wear stilettos again as I turned and discovered the damned footwear pinching my toes together in quite an uncomfortable fashion.’
      • ‘‘They're pinching my toes already,’ She complained as she slipped them on.’
      • ‘Before the game, Trucks noticed that his spikes had shrunk and were pinching his feet.’
      • ‘She remembered walking rigidly up the stone steps in her white lace, with the stockings too tight and the white shoes pinching and the back of the dress itchy.’
      • ‘They were pinching my feet, so I took them off by the Dumpster.’
      • ‘He had been so used to his old boots that the new ones he had bought had pinched his feet beyond endurance.’
      hurt, cause pain to, pain
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Compress (the lips), especially with worry or tension.
      ‘Aunt Rose pinched her thin lips together’
      • ‘He pinched his lips together, and gave a side glance at his two officers.’
      • ‘He was pinching his bottom lip with frustration by this point.’
      • ‘If he's real persistent, even with the noseband on, you can pinch his lip when he tries to put his mouth on you.’
      • ‘Pellew pinched his lips together not sure what he wanted to say.’
      • ‘I pushed him into a chair and tipped his head back, pinching his nose to stop the bleeding.’
      • ‘As Egewe watched, she pinched her lips with her thumb and forefinger, nervously stroking the thin skin of her lips.’
      • ‘I pinched my lips together in hopes of doing the same to my self, trying to pull my entire person together.’
      • ‘He pinched his lips together as anger rose inside him.’
      • ‘She pinched her lips together and concentrated on her work.’
      • ‘His lips were pinched and his hair looked more peppery than usual.’
      • ‘Dezra ordered stubbornly, pinching her lips at him and glowering from beneath the big hat.’
      • ‘His lips were pinched in anger, his hands fisted.’
      • ‘Rebecca felt terribly guilty about hiding her relation to David, but she pinched her lips and said not a word.’
      • ‘Asa pinched her lips in a grim line, meeting the strange man's cold green eyes.’
  • 2Move one's finger and thumb apart or bring them together on (a touchscreen) in order to zoom into or out of an image, activate a function, etc.

    ‘to explore in more detail just pinch the screen’
    no object ‘you can pinch on the screen and all the open apps will appear’
    • ‘Pinching outwards on the start screen will make the whole display zoom out and give you an overview of every app that you've got on the start screen.’
    • ‘There are many more ways to interact with modern smartphones, such as pinching or swiping the screen or shaking the whole phone.’
    • ‘Today's kids, who naturally "swipe" and "pinch" interactive screens and are more familiar with tablet screens than magazines, take to technology like fish to water.’
    • ‘Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations.’
    • ‘The Camera allows 4x digital Zoom - you have to pinch the screen to use the feature.’
    • ‘It is actually very annoying to have to constantly adjust/pinch the screen.’
    • ‘Pinching a home screen took us to another screen where we could change the default home screen.’
    • ‘In some cases, pinching the screen causes surrounding items to jump around.’
    • ‘Pinching the home screen lets you select different profiles and add new customizations.’
    • ‘Given the small screen size, I appreciate that pinching the touchscreen lets me zoom in and out of the world on a whim.’
  • 3informal Steal.

    ‘he pinched a handful of candies’
    • ‘What I can see is that people are going to be pinching other people's bins.’
    • ‘The ad broker has been pinching employees from Microsoft and others and is developing quite the reputation.’
    • ‘BOB is an angry man - he has lost his girlfriend and now the culprit who stole her has pinched his lead role in the new play.’
    • ‘We scuttled back into the stand and pinched a couple of undercover seats.’
    • ‘If a thief has pinched a mobile, and changed the IMEI number, he will need to change the number carried on the label on the phone as well.’
    • ‘Records from one of the credit cards they pinched show that after leaving the crime scene, the thieves went straight to Tesco's and bought £44 worth of pizza.’
    • ‘Joshua, of Earlswood Walk, Great Lever, watched in horror from a kitchen window as a thief pinched the bike and cycled off.’
    • ‘I tell you, someone is going to pinch this bloke for their band soonish.’
    • ‘A thief who pinched a pot of charity cash was later shamed into handing it back by angry shop staff.’
    • ‘Then, at home, I pinched my mother's detective stories and I read them in bed.’
    • ‘He said he has been left ‘devastated and heartbroken’ after opportunist thieves pinched his bike while he went into the store to get a Mars Bar, leaving the bike with a friend.’
    • ‘The thieves didn't pinch the tapes of the show, for some reason, which suggests they were pretty discerning.’
    • ‘It had been years since Big Al had been pinched for tax evasion, shipped off to Alcatraz, and reduced to a syphilitic mess.’
    steal, thieve, rob, take, snatch, pilfer, purloin, loot, rifle, abscond with, carry off
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1British Arrest (someone)
      ‘I was pinched for speeding’
      • ‘He wanted the police to portray themselves as the rabbit, but a day later, he's pinched.’
      • ‘When the cops pinched him, he gave them a fake name.’
      arrest, take into custody, apprehend, take prisoner, detain, seize, capture, catch, lay hold of, take in, haul in
      View synonyms
  • 4no object Live in a frugal way.

    ‘if I pinch and scrape, I might manage’
    • ‘It's said that Chicago Bears founder George Halas pinched pennies so tightly that his thumbprint looked like the profile of Abraham Lincoln.’
    economize, be economical, scrimp, scrimp and save, cut corners, reduce wastage, skimp, stint, be sparing, be frugal, cut back, tighten one's belt, draw in one's horns, retrench, cut expenditure, cut one's coat according to one's cloth
    View synonyms
  • 5Sailing
    Sail (a boat) so close to the wind that the sails begin to lose power.

noun

  • 1An act of gripping the skin of someone's body between finger and thumb.

    ‘he gave her a gentle pinch’
    • ‘The little pinch looks innocuous, but boy does it hurt!’
    • ‘Melibe will swim in response to pinches.’
    • ‘And I am not sure I would be swayed by the statement that a suicide bomber suffers no more pain than that of a pinch.’
    • ‘He does not feel the pain of his killing except like a pinch.’
    • ‘Sara brushed some curls from the cherub face and gave her nose a gentle pinch.’
    • ‘I avoided all the pinches and kisses and hugs by staying in Derek's room.’
    • ‘Democracy day is also a holiday, and whole families have come out to the polls, a pat-down for the parents, a playful pinch for the kids.’
    • ‘The bite was not venomous, just a pinch, and so to dinner, cat and beetle not invited.’
    • ‘I have been on the receiving end of a pinch from a man when I worked in a hospital.’
    • ‘There's winking, strutting, flitting and flirting, pecks on the cheek and pinches on the bum.’
    • ‘‘Oh, he's her boyfriend,’ stated Clay, rather smoothly, and in turn gained a sharp pinch in the side by yours truly.’
    • ‘Number of gropes, slaps, pinches and otherwise unwanted sexual attention endured: 0.’
    • ‘Several tales exist concerning alleged damage of earwigs: how they like to crawl into ears or how the forceps cause a painful pinch.’
    • ‘Try strokes, caresses, nips, pinches and gentle scratches.’
    • ‘Ally felt a pinch as she looked at him; she hated to know that he was hurting.’
    • ‘What looks like an earlobe pinch is a pressure point submission; I had heard of its use in law enforcement but hadn't seen it until now.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, I think I was given a slightly too large a pinch.’
    nip, tweak, squeeze
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An amount of an ingredient that can be held between fingers and thumb.
      ‘add a pinch of salt’
      • ‘Meanwhile, to make the polenta, put 500 ml water in a heavy-based saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.’
      • ‘Adding a pinch of MSG to my unreduced stock made it taste more brothy - that is, more like reduced stock.’
      • ‘For the pastry, place the flour and butter in a food processor with a pinch of salt and whizz until breadcrumbs.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, put the two egg whites in a third heatproof bowl with a pinch of salt.’
      • ‘Next I'd sprinkle a pinch of good sea salt - not much, just a bit, enough to bring out the flavor of the natural sweetness of tofu.’
      • ‘In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white with a pinch of salt to make soft peaks.’
      • ‘Gently stir together the first six ingredients with a pinch of salt until well mixed.’
      • ‘Other ingredients which find their way into the blender include a pinch of Salt, Black Pepper, some grated Onions, Coriander, grated Parsley and some Cream.’
      • ‘In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and the pinch of salt into stiff peaks.’
      • ‘This she mixed with a little raw garlic and some sugar and a pinch of MSG, which is cheaper than salt.’
      • ‘Place the first four ingredients in a food processor with a pinch of salt, and process until combined.’
      • ‘Cook the bread fruit and potatoes in a pressure cooker with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt.’
      • ‘Mix 1/3 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda in a cup of water.’
      • ‘You've been trying to eat less sodium - just a pinch of table salt to your baked potato and a dash to your scrambled eggs.’
      • ‘The only added ingredients are a pinch of salt and, on the French fries, canola or soybean oil and citric acid.’
      • ‘Place the polenta, flour, sugar and lemon zest in a food processor with a pinch of salt.’
      • ‘Top with a pinch of snipped tomato and drizzle over a tiny dab of pesto.’
      • ‘While the pinch of something can as well, in general, a cook understands that a pinch is a modest amount, less than a teaspoon.’
      • ‘For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until they are fluffy and then add the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt until combined.’
      • ‘To check for acidity in the soil, take a tablespoon of wet soil and add a pinch of baking soda.’
      small quantity, bit, touch, dash, spot, trace, soupçon, speck, taste
      View synonyms
  • 2informal An arrest.

    1. 2.1 An act of theft or plagiarism.

Phrases

  • in a pinch

    • In a critical situation; if absolutely necessary.

      • ‘If you were in a pinch, you might sell your socket wrenches, Tupperware, and Englebert Humperdink record collection.’
      • ‘I'm not that into cold cereal but could do that in a pinch.’
      • ‘An on-board doctor could help the person out, and in a pinch, the flight could simply land somewhere quickly.’
      • ‘But the data basically show that most people are willing, in a pinch, to impose higher taxes on someone else.’
      • ‘So, now that I work for Don Graham, I regard him as family, welcome to borrow my car or $50 whenever he's in a pinch.’
      • ‘Saudi Arabia produces 9 million barrels a day, and can do 11 in a pinch.’
      • ‘But in a pinch, when the chips were really down, both have been willing to do so.’
      • ‘Chimneys are the perfect habitat for these birds, although they will nest in silos, wells, air shafts, or abandoned buildings in a pinch.’
      • ‘Vermouth and Lemon meet these requirements nicely, although oranges, capers, Marsala also would have done in a pinch.’
      • ‘If there was a unique and complex weapon that became necessary to be wield in a pinch, she was required be more skilled in it than anyone before.’
      if necessary, with difficulty, in case of necessity, if need be, in an emergency, just possibly
      View synonyms
  • feel the pinch

    • Experience hardship, especially financial.

      • ‘They have all felt the pinch of our economic hard times as a crushing burden they were unfamiliar with until the last two-three years.’
      • ‘Though obviously a different prospect to a large hotel and dependent of passing trade rather than the tour buses or large bookings, many guest houses around Kerry are also beginning to feel the pinch.’
      • ‘The automotive industry, and the housing industry are both beginning to feel the pinch.’
      • ‘Farmers living in this community have felt the pinch in recent times with the dispute at the Department of Agriculture greatly affecting their livelihoods and putting them under severe pressure.’
      • ‘Both men are septuagenarians who have felt the pinch of ageism in a business that often dismisses extensive experience and talent as irrelevant.’
      • ‘Landlords and shopkeepers whose premises line the ancient square beneath Holy Trinity Church have all felt the pinch since the market disappeared, and even had to repackage the area as a tourist attraction.’
      • ‘While it has not been directly involved in the bursting of the technology bubble, Ramsay admits the company has felt the pinch with more companies chasing the same contracts and smaller margins available on each contract.’
      • ‘Over the next three years, dozens of exploration companies were forced to close and the Texas banks which supported the industry felt the pinch.’
      • ‘The position of the Coptic communities is becoming more insecure and they are the first to feel the pinch of hardship.’
      • ‘Consumers, though they may have felt the pinch from tightening bank lending standards, show little signs of slowing down.’
      suffer hardship, have less money, be short of money, be poor, be impoverished, suffer poverty, suffer adversity
      View synonyms
  • have to pinch oneself

    • Used to convey that a good situation is so surprising that the person involved has to make sure they are not imagining it.

      ‘sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize it isn't all a dream’
      • ‘At this point in the interview I had to pinch myself.’
      • ‘She almost had to pinch herself to believe it was true.’
      • ‘The more Collins talks, the more you have to pinch yourself.’
      • ‘Mr Obama's former colleagues have to pinch themselves that their now illustrious friend has a real shot at the White House.’
      • ‘Roger East occasionally has to pinch himself to make sure he isn't dreaming.’
      • ‘I had to pinch myself in case I was dreaming.’
      • ‘At this point I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.’
      • ‘The jazz singer of the moment tells Charles Hutchinson that most days she still has to pinch herself.’
      • ‘I have to pinch myself to realize he's 24.’
      • ‘I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe how far we've come.’

Origin

Middle English (as a verb): from an Old Northern French variant of Old French pincier ‘to pinch’.

Pronunciation

pinch

/pin(t)SH//pɪn(t)ʃ/