Half inch


      • steal something
        To take something without permission or payment, often in a sneaky or dishonest manner

      • move quickly
        To move or act with haste, often in a hurried or impulsive manner

    Examples of Half inch

    • The police officer warned the suspect, "Don't make me come over there and slap the half inch of sense into you!"

      This idiom, "half inch (of sense)", is used commonly in informal speech to emphasize the lack of intelligence or common sense in someone. In this context, the police officer is exasperated with the suspect's foolishness and is threatening to physically slap some sense into him if he does not improve his behavior.

    • The editor marked the manuscript with red ink, "This rough draft needs a half inch of polishing before I can consider publishing it!"

      In this example, "half inch (of polishing)", is used metaphorically to describe the amount of work required to refine and improve a draft. The editor is communicating that the manuscript requires significant revision before it is ready for publication.

    • "I'm afraid my budget can't stretch to a half inch of extra features. We'll have to compromise."

      This idiom, "half inch (of extra features)", is used to describe a minimal amount of desired additions or options. In this instance, the speaker is indicating that they lack funds for an expansive or luxurious product and must opt for a scaled-back version.

    • "The sales figures for this product have barely registered a half inch of growth in the last quarter!"

      Here, "half inch (of growth)", is employed as a figurative expression for low levels of progress or achievement. The speaker is implying that the product's performance has not improved significantly during the past three months.These examples highlight the versatility and range of the "half inch" idiom, which can be used both literally and metaphorically to convey different shades of meaning.

    • The new printer is half an inch smaller than the old one.

      This means that the new printer is 0.4 centimeters (0.16 inches) shorter in size compared to the old one. The idiom "half an inch" is used here as a measurement to describe the difference in size between the two printers.

    • His car has half an inch clearance on the ground.

      This means that there is a small gap of 0.4 centimeters (0.16 inches) between the bottom of the car and the ground. The idiom "half an inch" is used here to quantify the distance between the car and the ground, typically used to describe ground clearance.

    • The nail is sticking out half an inch from the wall.

      This means that half of the length or part of the nail is protruding out by 0.4 centimeters (0.16 inches) from the wall. The idiom "half an inch" is used here to describe the length of the part that is sticking out from the wall.

    • She lost half an inch from her waist after following a strict diet.

      This means that she has lost 0.4 centimeters (0.16 inches) from her waist measurement after following a strict diet. The idiom "half an inch" is used here to describe the measurement of her waist, and the change in that measurement.


    The idiom "half inch" has two main meanings, both of which involve a sense of taking or moving quickly and without much thought or consideration.

    In the first sense, "half inch" is used to describe the act of stealing something. This meaning likely originated from the use of the word "inch" as a slang term for stealing or taking something. The addition of "half" emphasizes the quick and sneaky nature of the act, as if someone is only taking half of what they could have taken.

    The second meaning of "half inch" is to move or act quickly and impulsively. This could refer to physical movement, such as running or jumping, or it could refer to making a decision or taking action without much consideration or planning. This usage may have originated from the idea of someone quickly taking something and then running off with it.

    Origin of "Half inch"

    The origin of the idiom "half inch" is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in British slang in the early 20th century. The word "inch" has long been used as a slang term for stealing, and the addition of "half" likely originated as a way to emphasize the sneaky and quick nature of the act.

    The use of "half inch" to mean moving quickly may have originated from the idea of someone quickly taking something and then running off with it. It could also be related to the phrase "half inching it," which means to move quickly and without much thought or effort. Overall, the origin of this idiom likely lies in the British slang of the early 1900s and has since become a common phrase in modern English.