inch

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Related to within an inch of: within an inch of life

inch:

see English units of measurementEnglish units of measurement,
principal system of weights and measures used in a few nations, the only major industrial one being the United States. It actually consists of two related systems—the U.S.
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inch

[inch]
(mechanics)
A unit of length in common use in the United States and Great Britain, equal to ¹⁄₁₂ foot or 2.54 centimeters. Abbreviated in.

inch

1. a unit of length equal to one twelfth of a foot or 0.0254 metre
2. Meteorol
a. an amount of precipitation that would cover a surface with water one inch deep
b. a unit of pressure equal to a mercury column one inch high in a barometer
References in classic literature ?
This had terrified the Home Secretary within an inch of his life, on several occasions.
And so many long, expensive months dragged by before any relief came to Sanders, that he was compelled, much against his will and his business judgment, to stretch his credit within an inch of the breaking-point to help Bell and the telephone.
Another was going to sit still till the first lance reached within an inch of his breast, and then dodge it and seize it.
With that he dragged me from all other hands, flung me against a door, and sent a bullet crashing through the wood within an inch of my ear.
My younger children are instructed to observe, as closely as circumstances will permit, the habits of the pigs and poultry maintained in the poorer parts of this city: a pursuit from which they have, on two occasions, been brought home, within an inch of being run over.
Nothing but crash-bang, varied now and then by bang-crash; all the women dressed within an inch of their lives; smothering heat, blazing gas, and no room for anybody -- yes, yes, Thomas; grand's the word for it, and comfortable isn't.
You big dogs are all cowards," he said, addressing the animal contemptuously, with his face and the dog's within an inch of each other.
In a corner below the mangle, on a couple of stools, sat two very little children: a boy and a girl; and when the very long boy, in an interval of staring, took a turn at the mangle, it was alarming to see how it lunged itself at those two innocents, like a catapult designed for their destruction, harmlessly retiring when within an inch of their heads.
If it were possible for literature to use the microscope of the Leuwenhoeks, the Malpighis, and the Raspails (an attempt once made by Hoffman, of Berlin), and if we could magnify and then picture the teredos navalis, in other words, those ship-worms which brought Holland within an inch of collapsing by honey-combing her dykes, we might have been able to give a more distinct idea of Messieurs Gigonnet, Baudoyer, Saillard, Gaudron, Falleix, Transon, Godard and company, borers and burrowers, who proved their undermining power in the thirtieth year of this century.
But I came within an inch of taking that girl au serieux.
Slowly but surely, the group is getting smaller, as the last 11 couples try and shimmy within an inch of their lives to keep dancing in the competition.
EVERYONE knows that celebs get airbrushed to within an inch of their lives for magazine covers and shoots, and now you can get the same treatment thanks to a new website.