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A substitute for another person, especially in an emergency. For example, Pat expected her mother to help with the baby, but just in case, she lined up her mother-in-law as pinch hitter . This expression comes from baseball, where it is used for a player substituting for another at bat at a critical point or in a tight situation (called a pinch since the late 1400s). [Late 1800s]
1. n. a substitute batter in the game of baseball. Sam is a pinch hitter for Ralph, who broke his wrist.
2. n. any substitute person. In school today we had a pinch hitter. Our teacher was sick.