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[noch] /nɒtʃ/
an angular or V -shaped cut, indentation, or slit in an object, surface, or edge.
a cut or nick made in a stick or other object for record, as in keeping a tally.
New England and Upstate New York. a deep, narrow opening or pass between mountains; gap; defile.
Informal. a step, degree, or grade:
This camera is a notch better than the other.
Metallurgy. a taphole in a blast furnace:
iron notch; cinder notch.
verb (used with object)
to cut or make a notch in.
to record by notches:
He notched each kill on the stick.
to score, as in a game:
He notched another win.
notch up / down, to move up or down or increase or decrease by notches or degrees:
The temperature has notched up another degree.
Origin of notch
1570-80; a notch (by false division) for an *otch < Old French oche notch
Related forms
notchy, adjective
unnotched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for notches
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The net was now crowded to the ground and the staffs slipped into the notches of the stakes to hold the net in place.

  • But at last the saplings were set in the notches, the nooses were formed and fastened on.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • The bottom slats fit loosely into notches, hence are removable for washing purposes.

    The Book of Cheese Charles Thom and Walter Warner Fisk
  • In other cases the wounds may have been of the nature of notches and grooves.

  • Two notches were cut in the inner side of each strip before it was 61 nailed on.

    The Scientific American Boy A. Russell (Alexander Russell) Bond
  • Still, I must say, having you puts me a couple of notches ahead of her.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • The faces have been neatly dressed and the corners ornamented with minute notches.

British Dictionary definitions for notches


a V-shaped cut or indentation; nick
a cut or nick made in a tally stick or similar object
(US & Canadian) a narrow pass or gorge
(informal) a step or level (esp in the phrase a notch above)
verb (transitive)
to cut or make a notch in
to record with or as if with a notch
(usually foll by up) (informal) to score or achieve: the team notched up its fourth win
Word Origin
C16: from incorrect division of an otch (as a notch), from Old French oche notch, from Latin obsecāre to cut off, from secāre to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for notches



1570s, probably a misdivision of an otch (see N for other examples), from Middle French oche "notch," from Old French ochier "to notch," of unknown origin. Said to be unconnected to nock.


1590s, from notch (n.). Earlier verb (before misdivision) was Middle English ochen "to cut, slash" (c.1400). Related: Notched; notching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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notches in Medicine

notch (nŏch)

  1. An indentation at the edge of a structure; an incisure.

  2. An upstroke or peak on a pulse tracing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for notches



  1. To score; achieve: a pacy serve that's notched a few aces in its time (1623+)
  2. To do the sex act •Use attributed to volleyball players: Guys don't fuck, they notch (1970s+)

Related Terms

notchery, top-notch

[first sense fr use of the term in cricket, and influenced by the cowboy tradition of filing a notch in the handle of one's pistol for each man killed]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with notches


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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