verbpinched, pinch·ing, pinch·es
- To squeeze (something) between the thumb and a finger, the jaws of a tool, or other edges.
- To cause pain or discomfort to (a part of the body) by pressing or being too tight: These shoes pinch my toes.
- To nip, wither, or shrivel: buds that were pinched by the frost; a face that was pinched with grief.
- To cause to be in difficulty or financial distress: “A year and a half of the blockade has pinched Germany” ( William L. Shirer )
- Slang To take (money or property) wrongfully. See Synonyms at steal.
- Slang To take into custody; arrest.
- To move (something) with a pinch bar.
- Nautical To sail (a boat) so close into the wind that its sails shiver and its speed is reduced.
- To press, squeeze, or bind painfully: This collar pinches.
- To draw a thumb and a finger together on a touchscreen to cause the image to become smaller.
- To be frugal or miserly: If we pinch, we might save some money.
- Nautical To drag an oar at the end of a stroke.
- The act or an instance of pinching.
- An amount that can be held between thumb and forefinger: a pinch of salt.
- Difficulty or hardship: felt the pinch of the recession.
- An emergency situation: This coat will do in a pinch.
- A narrowing of a mineral deposit, as in a mine.
- Informal A theft.
- Slang An arrest by a law enforcement officer.
Origin of pinchMiddle English pinchen from Old North French pinchier variant of Old French pincer Italian pinzare to sting and Spanish pinchar to prick, sting all derived from a Romance imitative root pints- expressive of pinching or pricking