Etymology
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pinch (v.)

early 13c., pinchen, "to pluck (an eyebrow);" mid-14c. "compress between the finger and thumb or some device, squeeze between two hard, opposing bodies," from Old North French *pinchier "to pinch, squeeze, nip; steal" (Old French pincier, Modern French pincer), a word of uncertain origin, possibly from Vulgar Latin *punctiare "to pierce," which might be a blend of Latin punctum "point" + *piccare "to pierce."

From mid-14c. as "to pain, torment." Of tight shoes, from 1570s. Meaning "to steal" in English is from 1650s. Sense of "to be stingy" is recorded from early 14c. Related: Pinched; pinching.

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pinch (n.)

late 15c., "critical juncture" (as in in a pinch "in an emergency"), from pinch (v.). This figurative sense is attested earlier than the literal sense of "act of pinching" (1590s) or that of "small quantity" (as much as can be pinched between a thumb and finger), which is from 1580s. There is a pinche (n.) in mid-15c., perhaps meaning "fold or pleat of fabric."

The baseball pinch-hitter "batter substituted for another, especially at a critical point in the game" is attested by that name from 1912. To pinch-hit (v.) is by 1931.

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pinscher (n.)

type of short-coated terrier, 1926, from German Pinscher, also Pinsch, which is probably from English pinch, in reference to its "clipped" ears.

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pince-nez (n.)

folding eyeglasses kept in place on the nose by a spring-clip, by 1853, French, literally "pinch-nose," from pincer "to pinch" (see pinch (v.)) + nez "nose" (from Latin nasus, from PIE root *nas- "nose").

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pincers (n.)

early 14c., "tool for grasping or nipping, having two hinged jaws which can be firmly closed and held together," from Old French pinceure "pincers, tongs," from pincier "to pinch" (see pinch (v.)). Applied to insect or crustacean parts from 1650s. Related: Pincer. The military pincer movement is attested by 1929.

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Dobermann pinscher (n.)

breed of domestic dog, originally used in police work, 1911 (as pincher Dobermann from 1907), named for Ludwig Dobermann, 19c. German dog-breeder in Thuringia. Pinscher "fox terrier" seems to be a 19c. borrowing from English pinch (see Kluge).

Der Kutscher aus gutem Hause verschafft sich, wie er kann und wenn er kann, einen ganz kleinen englischen Pinscher, der den Pferden sehr gut gut folgt und die großen Dänen von ehedem ersetzt hat, aus J.J. Rousseau's Zeit, der von dem dänischen Hunde umgerannt wurde, wie ihr wißt. ["Paris, oder, Das Buch der Hundert und Ein," Volume 6, Theodor Hell (pseud.), Potsdam, 1833]
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twinge (n.)
1540s, "a pinch, a nipping," from obsolete verb twinge "to pinch, tweak," from Old English twengan "to pinch," from Proto-Germanic *twangjan (source also of Old Frisian thwinga, Old Norse þvinga, Danish tvinge, Dutch dwingen, Old High German thwingan, German zwingen "to compel, force"), from PIE *twengh- "to press in on" (see thong). Meaning "sharp, sudden minor pain" is recorded from c. 1600. Figurative sense (with reference to shame, remorse, etc.) is recorded from 1620s.
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nip (v.)

late 14c., nippen, "to pinch sharply; to bite suddenly," probably from or related to Middle Low German nipen "to nip, to pinch," German nippen, Middle Dutch nipen "to pinch," Dutch nijpen, Old Norse hnippa "to prod," but the exact evolution of the stem is obscure. Related: Nipped; nipping.

Meaning "break off the tip by pinching" is from c. 1400. Sense of "blast as by frost, check the growth or vigor of" is from 1580s. To nip (something) in the bud in the figurative sense of "kill or destroy in the first stage of growth" is recorded from c. 1600. Slang nip in, nip out, etc., in which the sense of the verb is "move rapidly or nimbly" is attested from 1825.

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cram (v.)

Old English crammian "press something into something else," from Proto-Germanic *kramm- (source also of Old High German krimman "to press, pinch," Old Norse kremja "to squeeze, pinch"), from extended form of PIE root *ger- "to gather."

From early 14c. as "fill with more than can be conveniently contained." Meaning "study intensely for an exam in a short time" (with a view to passing the test, not real learning) is attested by 1803, transitive as well as reflexive, originally British student slang. Related: Crammed; cramming; crammer.

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tweak (v.)
"pinch, pluck, twist," usually to the nose, c. 1600, probably from Middle English twikken "to draw, tug, pluck" (mid-15c.), from Old English twiccian "to pluck," of obscure origin; perhaps related to twitch. Meaning "to make fine adjustments" is attested from 1966. Related: Tweaked; tweaking.
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