What does pinch mean?

Definitions for pinch

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word pinch.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. pinchnoun

    a painful or straitened circumstance

    "the pinch of the recession"

  2. pinchnoun

    an injury resulting from getting some body part squeezed

  3. touch, hint, tinge, mite, pinch, jot, speck, soupconnoun

    a slight but appreciable amount

    "this dish could use a touch of garlic"

  4. emergency, exigency, pinchnoun

    a sudden unforeseen crisis (usually involving danger) that requires immediate action

    "he never knew what to do in an emergency"

  5. nip, pinchnoun

    a small sharp bite or snip

  6. pinch, tweaknoun

    a squeeze with the fingers

  7. apprehension, arrest, catch, collar, pinch, taking into custodyverb

    the act of apprehending (especially apprehending a criminal)

    "the policeman on the beat got credit for the collar"

  8. pinch, squeeze, twinge, tweet, nip, twitchverb

    squeeze tightly between the fingers

    "He pinched her behind"; "She squeezed the bottle"

  9. crimp, pinchverb

    make ridges into by pinching together

  10. pilfer, cabbage, purloin, pinch, abstract, snarf, swipe, hook, sneak, filch, nobble, liftverb

    make off with belongings of others

  11. top, pinchverb

    cut the top off

    "top trees and bushes"

  12. pinch, vellicateverb

    irritate as if by a nip, pinch, or tear

    "smooth surfaces can vellicate the teeth"; "the pain is as if sharp points pinch your back"


  1. pinchnoun

    The action of squeezing a small amount of a person's skin and flesh, making it hurt.

  2. pinchnoun

    A small amount of powder or granules, such that the amount could be held between fingertip and thumb tip.

  3. pinchnoun

    An awkward situation of some kind (especially money or social) which is difficult to escape.

  4. pinchnoun

    An organic herbal smoke additive.

  5. pinchverb

    To squeeze a small amount of a person's skin and flesh, making it hurt.

  6. pinchverb

    To steal, usually of something almost trivial or inconsequential.

  7. pinchverb

    To arrest or capture.

  8. pinchverb

    To cut shoots or buds of a plant in order to shape the plant, or to improve its yield.

  9. pinchverb

    To sail so close-hauled that the sails begin to flutter.

  10. Etymology: From pinchen, from * (compare pincer, pincier), from *, a nasalised variant of *, of origin, from Old *, from pikōnan, from beu-. Cognate with pycan, pician, pikka, and picken, pochen. More at pick.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Pinchnoun

    Etymology: pinçon, French, from the verb.

    If any straggler from his rank be found,
    A pinch must for the mortal sin compound. Dryden.

    There cannot be a pinch in death
    More sharp than this is. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    Return to her: no, rather I chuse
    To be a comrad with the wolf and owl,
    Necessity’s sharp pinch. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    A farmer was put to such a pinch in a hard winter, that he was forced to feed his family upon the main stock. Roger L'Estrange.

    A good sure friend is a better help at a pinch, than all the stratagems of a man’s own wit. Francis Bacon.

    The devil helps his servants for a season; but when they come once to a pinch, he leaves ’em in the lurch. Roger L'Estrange.

    The commentators never fail him at a pinch, and must excuse him. Dryden.

    They at a pinch can bribe a vote. Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies.

  2. To Pinchverb

    Etymology: pincer, Fr.

    When the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
    To pinch her by the hand,
    The maid hath given consent to go with him. William Shakespeare.

    Thou shalt be pinch’d
    As thick as honey-combs, each pinch more stinging
    Than bees that made them. William Shakespeare, Tempest.

    He would pinch the children in the dark so hard, that he left the print in black and blue. John Arbuthnot, Hist. of J. Bull.

    As they pinch one another by the disposition, he cries out, no more. William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra.

    Want of room upon the earth pinching a whole nation, begets the remediless war, vexing only some number of particulars, it draws on the arbitrary. Walter Raleigh, Essays.

    She pinch’d her belly with her daughter’s too,
    To bring the year about with much ado. Dryden.

    Nic. Frog would pinch his belly to save his pocket. Arb.

    Avoid the pinching cold and scorching heat. John Milton.

    Afford them shelter from the wintry winds.
    As the sharp year pinches. James Thomson, Autumn.

    The beaver, when he finds himself hard pinch’d, bites ’em off, and by leaving them to his pursuers, saves himself. Roger L'Estrange.

    When the respondent is pinched with a strong objection, and is at a loss for an answer, the moderator suggests some answer to the objection of the opponent. Isaac Watts.

    This is the way to pinch the question; therefore, let what will come of it, I will stand the test of your method. Collier.

  3. To Pinchverb

    A difficulty pincheth, nor will it easily be resolved. Joseph Glanvill.

    But thou
    Know’st with an equal hand to hold the scale,
    See’st where the reasons pinch, and where they fail. Dryd.

    There is that waxeth rich by his wariness and pinching. Ecclus. xi. 18.

    The poor that scarce have wherewithal to eat,
    Will pinch and make the singing boy a treat. Dryden.

    The bounteous player outgave the pinching lord. Dryden.


  1. pinch

    A pinch is a small amount of a substance, typically a powdered or finely ground material like salt or spice, that is taken between the thumb and forefinger. It can also refer to the act of gripping or squeezing a small amount of something, or a painful, tight feeling in a muscle. Additionally, it can be used to refer to a difficult, challenging situation or financial hardship.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Pinchverb

    to press hard or squeeze between the ends of the fingers, between teeth or claws, or between the jaws of an instrument; to squeeze or compress, as between any two hard bodies

  2. Pinchverb

    o seize; to grip; to bite; -- said of animals

  3. Pinchverb

    to plait

  4. Pinchverb

    figuratively: To cramp; to straiten; to oppress; to starve; to distress; as, to be pinched for money

  5. Pinchverb

    to move, as a railroad car, by prying the wheels with a pinch. See Pinch, n., 4

  6. Pinchverb

    to act with pressing force; to compress; to squeeze; as, the shoe pinches

  7. Pinchverb

    to take hold; to grip, as a dog does

  8. Pinchverb

    to spare; to be niggardly; to be covetous

  9. Pinchnoun

    a close compression, as with the ends of the fingers, or with an instrument; a nip

  10. Pinchnoun

    as much as may be taken between the finger and thumb; any very small quantity; as, a pinch of snuff

  11. Pinchnoun

    pian; pang

  12. Pinchnoun

    a lever having a projection at one end, acting as a fulcrum, -- used chiefly to roll heavy wheels, etc. Called also pinch bar

  13. Etymology: [F. pincer, probably fr. OD. pitsen to pinch; akin to G. pfetzen to cut, pinch; perhaps of Celtic origin. Cf. Piece.]


  1. Pinch

    A pinch is the compression of an electrically conducting filament by magnetic forces. The conductor is usually a plasma, but could also be a solid or liquid metal. In a z-pinch, the current is axial and the magnetic field azimuthal; in a theta-pinch, the current is azimuthal and the magnetic field is axial. The phenomenon may also be referred to as a "Bennett pinch", "electromagnetic pinch", "magnetic pinch", "pinch effect" or "plasma pinch". Pinches occur naturally in electrical discharges such as lightning bolts, the aurora, current sheets, and solar flares. They are also produced in the laboratory, primarily for research into fusion power.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Pinch

    pinsh, v.t. to grip hard: to squeeze between two hard or firm substances: to squeeze the flesh so as to give pain: to nip: to distress: to gripe.—v.i. to act with force: to bear or press hard: to live sparingly.—n. a close compression with the fingers: what can be taken up between the finger and thumb: an iron bar used as a lever for lifting weights, rolling wheels, &c.: a gripe: distress: oppression.—n. Pinch′commons, a niggard, a miser.—adj. Pinched, having the appearance of being tightly squeezed: hard pressed by want or cold: narrowed in size.—ns. Pinch′er, one who, or that which, pinches; Pinch′ers, Pin′cers, an instrument for gripping anything firmly, esp. for drawing out nails, &c.; Pinch′fist, Pinch′gut Pinch′penny, a niggard.—adv. Pinch′ingly, in a pinching manner.—At a pinch, in a case of necessity; Know where the shoe pinches, to know where the cause of trouble or difficulty is. [O. Fr. pincer; prob. Teut., cf. Dut. pitsen, to pinch.]

Suggested Resources

  1. pinch

    Song lyrics by pinch -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by pinch on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. PINCH

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pinch is ranked #50467 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Pinch surname appeared 414 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Pinch.

    96.8% or 401 total occurrences were White.
    1.6% or 7 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.2% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

How to pronounce pinch?

How to say pinch in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of pinch in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of pinch in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of pinch in a Sentence

  1. Lorne Baring:

    By and large I just take them (the forecasts) with a pinch of salt, it's all about what (European Central Bank President Mario) Draghi says at its next meeting.

  2. Horace:

    He that holds fast the golden mean, And lives contentedly between The little and the great, Feels not the wants that pinch the poor, Nor plagues that haunt the rich man?s door, Embittering all his state.

  3. John Selden:

    He that has not religion to govern his morality, is not a dram better than my mastiff-dog; so long as you stroke him, and please him, and do not pinch him, he will play with you as finely as may be, he is a very good moral mastiff; but if you hurt him, he will fly in your face, and tear out your throat.

  4. John Locke:

    Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.

  5. Chef Richard Black:

    When in doubt -- add a pinch of salt.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for pinch

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • pessigar, pessicCatalan, Valencian
  • štípnout, špetkaCzech
  • knib, snuppe, nive, knibe, negle, niv, hugge, tage, nap, drys, klemme, nappe, nuppeDanish
  • kneifen, zwickenGerman
  • pellizco, pizca, pellizcar, aprietoSpanish
  • napata, latvoa, hyppysellinen, hyppynen, näpistää, piinata, leikata, nipistys, pinteessä, nipistääFinnish
  • pincement, pincer, chiper, pincéeFrench
  • csipetHungarian
  • pizzicare, pizzico, acciuffareItalian
  • 抓るJapanese
  • نوقورچ لێدان, قونجورکه‌, نوقورچ, قونجورک گرتنKurdish
  • چوبيت, cubitMalay
  • knijpenDutch
  • szczyptaPolish
  • beliscada, beliscar, alhada, aperto, roubarPortuguese
  • ciupi, pișcaRomanian
  • щепотка, прищемлять, ущипнуть, щепоть, защемлять, щипатьRussian
  • štipanje, uštinutiSerbo-Croatian
  • nyp, knipa, snatta, nypa, knipsa, pinaSwedish
  • çimdiklemekTurkish
  • nhónVietnamese

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"pinch." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/pinch>.

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    a state of acute pain
    • A. rogue
    • B. transition
    • C. suffering
    • D. directory

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