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verb (used with object)
to squeeze or compress between the finger and thumb, the teeth, the jaws of an instrument, or the like.
to constrict or squeeze painfully, as a tight shoe does.
to cramp within narrow bounds or quarters: The crowd pinched him into a corner.
to render (the face, body, etc.) unnaturally constricted or drawn, as pain or distress does: Years of hardship had pinched her countenance beyond recognition.
to affect with sharp discomfort or distress, as cold, hunger, or need does.
to straiten in means or circumstances: The depression pinched them.
to stint (a person, family, etc.) in allowance of money, food, or the like: They were severely pinched by the drought.
to hamper or inconvenience by the lack of something specified: The builders were pinched by the shortage of good lumber.
to stint the supply or amount of (a thing).
to put a pinch or small quantity of (a powder, spice, etc.) into something.
to roll or slide (a heavy object) with leverage from a pinch bar.
to steal.
to arrest.
Digital Technology. to move two or more fingers toward or away from each other on (a touchscreen) in order to execute a command (often followed by in or out ): Zoom in by pinching the screen.
Horticulture. to remove or shorten (buds or shoots) in order to produce a certain shape of the plant, improve the quality of the bloom or fruit, or increase the development of buds (often followed by out, off, or back ).
Nautical. to sail (a ship) so close to the wind that the sails shake slightly and the speed is reduced.
Horse Racing, British. to press (a horse) to the point of exhaustion.
verb (used without object)
to exert a sharp or painful constricting force: This shoe pinches.
to cause sharp discomfort or distress: Their stomachs were pinched with hunger.
to economize unduly; stint oneself: They pinched and scraped for years to save money for a car.
Digital Technology. to move the fingers toward or away from each other on a touchscreen (often followed by in or out ): Pinching in will zoom in, and pinching out will zoom out.
to diminish.
to diminish to nothing (sometimes followed by out ).
Nautical. to trim a sail too flat when sailing to windward.
the act of pinching; nip; squeeze.
as much of anything as can be taken up between the finger and thumb: a pinch of salt.
a very small quantity of anything: a pinch of pungent wit.
sharp or painful stress, as of hunger, need, or any trying circumstances: the pinch of conscience; to feel the pinch of poverty.
a situation or time of special stress, especially an emergency: A friend is someone who will stand by you in a pinch.
Slang. a raid or an arrest.
Slang. a theft.
Digital Technology. an act or instance of pinching a touchscreen.
pinch pennies, to stint on or be frugal or economical with expenditures; economize: I'll have to pinch pennies if I'm going to get through school.
with a pinch of salt. salt1 ( def 33 ). Also, with a grain of salt.

1250–1300; Middle English pinchen < Anglo-French *pinchier (equivalent to Old French pincier, Spanish pinchar) < Vulgar Latin *pīnctiāre, variant of *pūnctiāre to prick (cf. pique1)

pinchable, adjective
unpinched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
pinch (pɪntʃ)
vb (sometimes foll by out) (usually foll by off, out, or back)
1.  See nip to press (something, esp flesh) tightly between two surfaces, esp between a finger and the thumb
2.  to confine, squeeze, or painfully press (toes, fingers, etc) because of lack of space: these shoes pinch
3.  (tr) to cause stinging pain to: the cold pinched his face
4.  (tr) to make thin or drawn-looking, as from grief, lack of food, etc
5.  (usually foll by on) to provide (oneself or another person) with meagre allowances, amounts, etc
6.  pinch pennies to live frugally because of meanness or to economize
7.  (tr) nautical to sail (a sailing vessel) so close to the wind that her sails begin to luff and she loses way
8.  (of a vein of ore) to narrow or peter out
9.  to remove the tips of (buds, shoots, etc) to correct or encourage growth
10.  informal (tr) to steal or take without asking
11.  informal (tr) to arrest
12.  a squeeze or sustained nip
13.  the quantity of a substance, such as salt, that can be taken between a thumb and finger
14.  a very small quantity
15.  a critical situation; predicament; emergency: if it comes to the pinch we'll have to manage
16.  the pinch sharp, painful, or extreme stress, need, etc: feeling the pinch of poverty
17.  See pinch bar
18.  slang a robbery
19.  slang a police raid or arrest
20.  at a pinch if absolutely necessary
21.  with a pinch of salt, with a grain of salt without wholly believing; sceptically
[C16: probably from Old Norman French pinchier (unattested); related to Old French pincier to pinch; compare Late Latin punctiāre to prick]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1230, from O.N.Fr. *pinchier, var. of O.Fr. pincier, possibly from V.L. *punctiare "to pierce" (from L. punctum "point"), and *piccare "to pierce." Meaning "to steal" is from 1656. Sense of "to be stingy" is recorded from early 14c. Noun meaning "critical juncture" (as in baseball pinch hitter, attested
from 1912) is from 1489; older than the literal sense of "act of pinching" (1591).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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