Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
pinch (one) off
vulgar slang To defecate, especially quickly. Give me a minute, I just need to go pinch one off and then I'll be ready to leave.
pinch and scrape
To spend as little money as possible; to be very frugal or tight, especially with the aim of saving up for something bigger. Ever since we had our second child, we've had to pinch and scrape to make sure they both get what they want for Christmas.
where the shoe pinches
Where trouble or stress originates. I hate to say it, but I think this new project is where the shoe pinches—it's just taking too much of our time with too little payoff.
at a pinch
Said of a challenging, but potentially workable, situation. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Sir, I think we can get you on that flight at a pinch, as long as you don't mind waiting around.
To spend as little money as possible; to be especially frugal, especially with the aim of saving up for something bigger. Ever since we had our second child, we've had to pinch pennies to make sure they both get what they want for Christmas.
scrimp and save
To spend as little money as possible; to be especially frugal, especially with the aim of saving up for something bigger. Ever since we had our second child, we've had to scrimp and save to make sure they both get what they want for Christmas.
feel the pinch
To be or feel constrained by recent financial hardship. We've been feeling the pinch since my wife's restaurant closed down; I've had to take on a second job at a convenience store just to make ends meet. Many families are going to feel the pinch if this new tax is passed.
take (something) with a pinch of salt
To consider or evaluate something, such as a statement, while keeping in mind that it may not be completely true or accurate, typically due to the unreliability of the source. I heard that you can get a free movie ticket if you wear red, but Kevin told me that, so I'm going to take it with a pinch of salt. Take whatever that paper publishes with a pinch of salt—it's really a tabloid.
1. To bat in place of another player in a baseball game. Let Ben pinch-hit—he's a better hitter than Paul, and you really need to knock in some runs here.
2. By extension, to substitute for or replace another person in any endeavor. I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, so I need you to pinch-hit for me on the conference call.
feel pinchedand feel the pinch
Fig. experiencing hardship because of having too little money. The Smiths used to go abroad every year, but now that he's retired, they're really feeling pinched. You're bound to feel the pinch a little when you're a student.
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.
pinch someone for something
Sl. to arrest someone for something. The cops pinched Max for driving without a license. Max was pinched for speeding.
pinch something back
to pinch off a bit of the top of a plant so it will branch and grow more fully. You should pinch this back so it will branch. Pinch back the new leaves at the top.
pinch something from someone or something
Sl. to steal something from someone or something. Sam pinched an apple from the produce stand. We saw a pickpocket pinch a wallet from an old man.
pinch something off (of) somethingand pinch something off
to sever something from something by pinching. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Pinch the buds off the lower branches so the one at the top will bloom. Pinch off the lower buds.
pinch-hit for someone
1. Fig. to bat for someone else in a baseball game. Wally Wilson will pinch-hit for Gary Franklin. Rodney Jones is pinch-hitting for Babe DiMaggio.
2. Fig. to substitute for someone in any situation. Bart will pinch-hit for Fred, who is at another meeting today. Who will pinch-hit for me while I am on vacation?
scrimp and saveand pinch and scrape
to be very thrifty; to live on very little money, often in order to save up for something. We had to scrimp and save in order to send the children to college. The Smiths pinched and scraped all year in order to go on a Caribbean cruise.
take something with a pinch of saltand take something with a grain of slt
Fig. to listen to a story or an explanation with considerable doubt. You must take anything she says with a grain of salt. She doesn't always tell the truth. They took my explanation with a pinch of salt. I was sure they didn't believe me.
feel the pinch
Be affected by hardship, especially straitened finances. For example, This job pays much less, so we're bound to feel the pinch. [Mid-1800s]
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.
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]
Be thrifty or miserly, as in There's no need to pinch pennies now that you're working full-time. This term was first recorded in 1942.
scrimp and save
Economize severely, spend as little as possible, as in For years we had to scrimp and save, but now we can enjoy life more. [Mid-1800s]
with a grain of salt
Also, with a pinch of salt. Skeptically, with reservations. For example, I always take Sandy's stories about illnesses with a grain of salt-she tends to exaggerate. This expression is a translation of the Latin cum grano salis, which Pliny used in describing Pompey's discovery of an antidote for poison (to be taken with a grain of salt). It was soon adopted by English writers.
If someone pinches pennies, they try to spend as little money as possible. States and the federal government are pinching pennies everywhere they can and often cutting arts programs first. Markets are shrinking and customers are pinching pennies. Note: The verb penny pinch has a similar meaning but is more disapproving. Good, lasting floors are an essential in any house, so it does not pay to try and penny pinch. Note: Pennypinching is used as a noun and an adjective, and people who do this are called penny pinchers. He ordered a huge meal. This wasn't a moment for pennypinching. For penny pinchers, a nearby restaurant offers a version of the dish for $10.
at a pinchBRITISH or
in a pinchAMERICAN
COMMON If it is possible to do something at a pinch, it can just be done if it is absolutely necessary. Allow an hour for the dish to stand when it comes out of the oven, but 10-15 minutes will do at a pinch. The ballroom could easily handle two hundred chairs, more in a pinch.
feel the pinch
COMMON If a person or organization feels the pinch, they do not have as much money as they used to have, and so they cannot buy the things they would like to buy. Poor households were still feeling the pinch and VAT on fuel made matters worse. Economic problems are mounting to the point where ordinary voters are beginning to feel the pinch.
take something with a pinch of saltmainly BRITISH or
take something with a grain of saltmainly AMERICAN
COMMON If you say that someone should take some information with a pinch of salt, you mean that they should not believe it completely because it may not all be accurate or true. Reports from the authorities that the situation is calm should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt. You have to take these findings with a grain of salt because respondents in attitude surveys tend to give the answers they feel they should. Note: A pinch of salt is a small amount of salt held between your thumb and your first finger. Some people believe that this expression refers to the King of Pontus, Mithridates VI, who lived in the first century BC. It is said that he made himself immune to poison by swallowing small amounts of it with a grain of salt. However, other people think that it is a medieval English expression, which suggests that you need to be suspicious of unlikely stories in the same way that you need salt with food.
at a pinchif necessary; in an emergency.
A North American variant of this expression is in a pinch .
feel the pinchexperience hardship, especially financial.
take something with a pinch (or grain) of saltregard something as exaggerated; believe only part of something.
1998 Bookseller Meanwhile…readers should take the quotes they see with a pinch of salt.
where the shoe pincheswhere your difficulty or trouble is.
feel the ˈpinch(informal) be under pressure because you do not have as much money as you had before: Schools all over the country are beginning to feel the pinch after the government cut back its spending on education.
If you feel a pinch from a shoe, it hurts your foot because it is too tight.
at a ˈpinch/ˈpush(British English) (American English in a ˈpinch) (informal) possible if you try very hard or if it is absolutely necessary: We usually only accept 55 guests but at a pinch, we could take 60.
pinch ˈpennies(informal) try to spend as little money as possible: We’ve been pinching pennies all year so that we can visit my relatives in Australia in December. ▶ ˈpenny-pinching adj.: penny-pinching governments ˈpenny-pinching noun ˈpenny-pincher noun
take something with a pinch of ˈsalt(informal) not believe everything somebody says: She told me she knew people in the movie industry, but I took that with a pinch of salt. ♢ I take everything he says with a large pinch of salt. OPPOSITE: take something as/for gospel/gospel truth
1. n. a small amount of a powdered substance, such as salt, snuff, a spice, etc. (Not slang.) He put a pinch under his lips and walked up to home plate.
2. tv. to arrest someone. The police captain pinched her for passing bad checks.
3. n. the arrest of someone. They made the pinch in front of her house.
4. tv. to steal something. (see also cop.) The kid pinched a candy bar right off the counter.
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.
with a grain of salt
With reservations; skeptically: Take that advice with a grain of salt.
To be thrifty or miserly.