by inches

(redirected from to inch along)

by inches

Also, inch by inch. Gradually, bit by bit, as in We found ourselves in rush hour traffic, moving by inches. Shakespeare used this term in Coriolanus (5:4): "They'll give him death by inches." Despite the increasing use of metric measurements, it survives, often as an exaggeration of the actual circumstance. The phrase to inch along, first recorded in 1812, means "to move bit by bit," as in There was a long line at the theater, just inching along.
See also: inch
References in periodicals archive ?
As per usual I had to inch along our row in the semi dark with hushed apologies for anything I may have just stood on.
You have to inch along, which gives you time to enjoy every stall
Expert climbers were called in to inch along the actual cable, before dropping in to the car.
complaining it can take an hour to inch along the city's Golden Mile.