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English definition of “in”

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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 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).


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.


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.


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.


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)
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