Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “in”

in

preposition, adverb [not gradable]  /ɪn/ us  

in preposition, adverb [not gradable] (WITHIN)

positioned inside or within the limits of something, or contained, surrounded, or enclosed by something: There’s a cup in the cabinet. Anne is still in bed. Don’t stand in the driveway. He’s always looking at himself in the mirror. Clarice lives in Orlando. He was in prison (= a prisoner). Erika is still in school (= still a student). He has a pain in his shoulder. in and out If you are in and out of a place, you go there and leave, often repeatedly: Since the accident, she’s been in and out of the hospital several times.

in preposition, adverb [not gradable] (INCLUSION)

being a member or forming a part of something: Who’s the woman in that painting? Mr. Harper is in a meeting. I’ve been waiting in line for two hours. Do you take milk in your coffee?

in preposition, adverb [not gradable] (SITUATION)

experiencing a situation, condition, or feeling: We watched in horror as the cars crashed. I’d like to talk to you in private. He left in a hurry. Have you ever been in love? He’s always in a bad mood on Monday mornings. Temperatures tomorrow will be in the 70s (= between 70 and 79 degrees).

in

preposition  /ɪn/ us  

in preposition (moving toward)

into or toward: Get in the car. She stepped in the batter’s box. He looked in my direction.

in preposition (connected with)

involved or connected with something, esp. with a job or subject: I never knew you were in publishing. I’m taking a course in economics next semester.

in preposition (WEARING)

wearing, covering, or decorated with: Do you recognize that man in the gray suit? The living room is done in blue and green.

in preposition (USING)

said, made, or done using something: Fill out the application in ink. They spoke in Russian the whole time.

in preposition (DURING)

during part or all of a period of time or an event: We’re going to Arizona in April. What was it like to be a student in 1968? See you in the morning. How many people died in the war? She’s in her forties (= between 40 and 49 years old). In can also mean no longer than a particular period of time: Can you finish the job in two weeks? In can also mean at the end of a particular period of time: I should be there in half an hour.

in preposition (ARRANGEMENT)

used to show how something is arranged or divided: We sat in a circle around the campfire. The potatoes will bake faster if you cut them in half.

in preposition (comparing amounts)

used to compare a part of an amount of something with the total amount of it; out of: The survey found that one person in ten has a reading problem. The chance of that happening is one in a million.

in preposition (CHARACTERISTIC)

used to show which characteristic of a person or thing is being described: She’s deaf in her left ear. Canned vegetables are not very rich in vitamins. I wasn’t using the word "guarantee" in its strict legal sense.

in preposition (CAUSE)

used to show that doing one thing is the cause of another thing happening: I leaned out of the canoe and in doing so tipped it over. It might be made of plastic, in which case it will be light enough to carry.

in

adverb  /ɪn/ us  

in adverb (from outside)

[not gradable] from outside, or toward the center: Could you bring the clothes in for me? The roof of their house caved in during a hurricane.

in adverb (at place)

at a place, esp. at home or a place of work: Why is it that whenever I call, you are never in? Danielle was out sick last week – do you know if she’ll be in today?

in adverb (PLACE)

[not gradable] used to show that a space or place exists where something can be put or added: Just pencil in your answers on the attached sheet. The text is finished, but the pictures need to be pasted in. [not gradable] For many sports, if a ball is in, it has not gone outside the edges of the area on which the game is played.

in adverb (POLITICS)

into an elected position or office: She’s been voted in for a second term as treasurer.

in

adjective, adverb  /ɪn/ infml us  

in adjective, adverb (FASHIONABLE)

fashionable or popular: That new jazz club is the in place to go. High heels came in again this season.

in

noun [C]  /ɪn/ us  

in noun [C] (ADVANTAGE)

an advantage resulting from a good relationship with someone powerful: Sal has an in with someone at the theater.
(Definition of in preposition, adverb, preposition, adverb, adjective, adverb, noun from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of in?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Advantage and disadvantage, but you might be interested in these topics from the Chance and possibility topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “in” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

microbrewery

a small company that makes beer, usually using traditional methods, and often has a restaurant where its beer is served

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More