in a pinch


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.

in a pinch

as a substitute. A piece of clothing can be used as a bandage in a pinch. In a pinch, you can use folded paper to prop up the table leg so the table won't rock.
See also: pinch

in a pinch

if necessary You should use lime juice, but in a pinch lemon is all right.
See also: pinch

in a pinch

In an emergency, when hard-pressed, as in This music isn't what I would have chosen, but it will do in a pinch. This term dates from the late 1400s, when it was put as at a pinch (a usage still current in Britain); pinch alludes to straitened circumstances.
See also: pinch