in Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “in” in the English Dictionary

"in" in British English

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inpreposition

uk   us   /ɪn/
  • in preposition (INSIDE)

A1 inside a ​container, ​place, or ​area, or ​surrounded or ​closed off by something: Is ​Mark still in ​bed? I got ​stuck in a ​trafficjam for ​half an ​hour. They ​live in a ​charmingoldhouse. How much is that ​coat on ​display in the ​window (= in the ​space behind the ​window of the ​shop)? I've got a ​pain in my back. What's that in ​yourhand? I've got something in (= on the ​surface of) my ​eye. They used to ​live in Paris, but now they're ​somewhere in Austria. He's always ​looking at himself in the ​mirror (= at the ​image of his ​faceproduced by the ​mirror). I never ​know what's going on in her ​head (= what she's ​thinking about). My daughter's in ​hospital (US in the ​hospital) having her ​tonsils out.US Is Erika still in ​school (= does she still go to ​school)?

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  • in preposition (PART)

A2 forming a ​part of something: He used to be the ​leadsinger in a ​rockband. There are too many ​spellingmistakes in this ​essay. I've been ​waiting in this ​queue for ​ages. What do you ​look for in a ​relationship? I can ​see a ​futurechampion in Joely (= I ​think that Joely might ​become a ​champion). Talent like hers is ​rare in someone so ​young.

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  • in preposition (DURING)

A1 during ​part or all of a ​period of ​time: We're going to Italy in ​April. Some ​treeslosetheirleaves in (the) ​autumn. I ​startedworking here in 2009. Life in the 19th ​century was very different from what it is now. Bye, ​see you in the ​morning (= ​tomorrowmorning). She was a ​brilliantgymnast in her ​youth (= when she was ​young). How many ​civiliansdied in the Vietnam War? This is the first ​cigarette I've had in three ​years. I haven't had a ​decent night's ​sleep in ​years/​ages (= for a ​longtime).in between between the two ​timesmentioned: I have ​breakfast at 7.30, ​lunch at 1.00, and sometimes a ​snack in between.

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  • in preposition (NO MORE THAN)

A2 needing or using no more ​time than a ​particularamount of ​time: Can you ​finish the ​job in two ​weeks? She could get that ​essay done in a ​couple of ​hours if she really ​tried. They ​completed the ​journey in ​recordtime (= ​faster than ​ever done before).

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  • in preposition (BEFORE THE END)

A2 before or at the end of a ​particularperiod: Dinner will be ​ready in ten ​minutes. We'll all be ​dead in a hundred ​years so there's no ​pointworrying about it. I'm just setting off, so I should be with you in ​half an ​hour.

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  • in preposition (EXPERIENCING)

B1 experiencing a ​situation or ​condition, or ​feeling an ​emotion: We ​watched in ​horror as they ​pulled the ​bodies from the ​wreckage. He's ​living in ​luxury in the ​south of France. She ​left in a ​bit of a ​hurry. You're in ​greatdanger. Could I have a word with you in ​private? Have you ​ever been in ​love? Your car's in very good ​condition, ​considering how ​old it is.

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  • in preposition (EXPRESSED)

B1 expressed or written in a ​particular way: Cheques should be written in ​ink. She usually ​paints in ​watercolour. They ​spoke in ​Russian the ​wholetime. He always ​talks in a ​whisper.

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  • in preposition (RESULT)

B2 used when referring to something that is done as a ​result of something ​else: I'd like to do something for you in return/exchange for everything you've done for me. The ​changes are in response to ​demand from ​ourcustomers. He ​refused to say anything in reply to the ​journalists' ​questions.

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  • in preposition (ARRANGEMENT)

B1 used to show how things or ​people are ​arranged or ​divided: We all ​sat down in a ​circle. The ​desks were ​arranged in ​rows of ten. Discounts are ​available to ​peopletravelling in ​largegroups. Sometimes ​customersbuybooks in twos and threes, but ​rarely in ​largerquantities than that. Cut the ​potatoes in two. People are ​dying in ​their thousands from ​cold and ​starvation.

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  • in preposition (AGE/TEMPERATURE)

used when referring ​approximately to someone's ​age or the ​weathertemperature: Nowadays many women are in their late ​thirties when they have ​their first ​child. Temperatures will be in the mid-twenties (= about 25 ​degrees).

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  • in preposition (INVOLVED)

B1 involved or ​connected with a ​particularsubject or ​activity: I never ​knew you were in ​publishing. a ​degree in ​philosophy advances in ​medicalscience

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  • in preposition (WEARING)

B1 wearing: Do you ​recognize that man in the ​greysuit? Pat can't ​resist men in ​uniform. You ​looknice in ​green (= ​greenclothes).

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  • in preposition (COMPARING AMOUNTS)

used to ​compare one ​part of an ​amount of something with the ​totalamount of it: Apparently one in ten ​people/one ​person in ten has ​problems with ​reading.UK The ​basicrate of ​incometax is 25 ​pence in (US on) the ​pound.

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  • in preposition (CHARACTERISTIC)

used to show which ​characteristic or ​part of a ​person or thing is being ​described: The new ​version is ​worse in every ​respect - I much ​preferred the ​original. Are the two ​bagsequal in ​weight? She's ​deaf in her ​leftear.

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  • in preposition (CAUSE)

[+ -ing verb] used to show when doing one thing is the ​cause of another thing ​happening: In refusing (= because she ​refused) to ​workabroad, she ​missed an ​excellentjobopportunity. The ​governmentbannedtobaccoadvertising and, in doing so (= because of this), ​contributedgreatly to the nation's ​health.in that formal because: This ​research is ​important in that it ​confirms the ​link between ​aggression and ​alcohol.

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inadverb

uk   us   /ɪn/
  • in adverb (FROM OUTSIDE)

A2 from ​outside, or towards the ​centre: Could you ​bring the ​clothes in for me? The ​roof of ​theirhouse caved in during a ​hurricane. Cut the ​pastry into a ​square and ​turn in the ​corners.be in and out of somewhere informal to often be ​staying in and ​receivingtreatment in a ​particularplace: She's been in and out of ​hospitalsever since the ​accident.

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  • in adverb (INSIDE)

within an ​object, ​area, or ​substance: We've been ​shut in all ​day.UK Has the ​soup got any ​salt in?
  • in adverb (GIVEN)

B2 given or ​sent to someone ​official in ​order to be ​read: When does ​youressay have to be in? Remember to get ​yourapplication in by the end of the ​week.

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  • in adverb (COAST)

towards the ​coast, ​beach, or harbour: The ​tide comes in very ​quickly here and you can ​soonfind yourself ​stranded. We ​stoodwatching the ​ship come in.

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  • in adverb (COMPLETION)

used to refer to an ​activity that makes something ​complete: Just pencil in the ​answerunless you're ​sure it's ​correct. The ​text is ​finished, but the ​pictures will have to be ​pasted in ​later.UK Would you ​mind filling in a ​questionnaire about what you ​watch on ​television?

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  • in adverb (SPORT)

If the ​ball is in during a ​game of ​tennis or a ​similarsport, it has not gone ​outside the ​edges of the ​area on which the ​game is ​played: I ​won that ​point, I'm ​telling you! The ​ball was ​definitely in! taking ​yourturn to ​play, ​especially taking ​yourturn to ​hit the ​ball: Who's in next for ​ourteam? It ​started to ​rain just as ​ourteam was going in to ​bat.

inadjective

uk   us   /ɪn/ informal
fashionable or ​popular: High ​heels are in this ​season. The new ​jazzclubseems to be the in ​place to go at the ​moment.

in.noun [C]

written abbreviation for inch

in-prefix

(before l il-, before b, m or p im-, before r ir-) uk   us   /ɪn-/
used to ​add the ​meaning "not", "​lacking", or "the ​opposite of" to ​adjectives and to words ​formed from ​adjectives: incomplete/​incompletely illegal/​illegally impossible/​impossibly irregular/​irregularly
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INadjective

uk   us   /ˌaɪˈen/ specialized

IN

written abbreviation for the US ​state of Indiana: used in ​addresses

-insuffix

uk   us   /ɪn/
used to ​form a ​noun which ​describes an ​activity in which many ​people take ​part: a ​sit-in/​phone-in
(Definition of in from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"in" in American English

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inpreposition, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɪn/
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.
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 ​yourcoffee?
experiencing a ​situation, ​condition, or ​feeling: We ​watched in ​horror as the ​carscrashed. 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 ​badmood on ​Mondaymornings. Temperatures ​tomorrow will be in the 70s (= between 70 and 79 ​degrees).

inpreposition

 us   /ɪn/
  • 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 ​graysuit? The ​livingroom 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 ​wholetime.
  • 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 ​peopledied in the ​war? She’s in her ​forties (= between 40 and 49 ​yearsold). In can also ​mean no ​longer than a ​particularperiod of ​time: Can you ​finish the ​job in two ​weeks? In can also ​mean at the end of a ​particularperiod 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 ​bakefaster if you ​cut them in ​half.
  • in preposition (comparing amounts)

used to ​compare a ​part of an ​amount of something with the ​totalamount of it; out of: The ​surveyfound that one ​person in ten has a ​readingproblem. 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 ​leftear. Canned ​vegetables are not very ​rich in ​vitamins. I wasn’t using the word "​guarantee" in ​itsstrictlegalsense.
  • 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.

inadverb

 us   /ɪn/
  • in adverb (from outside)

[not gradable] from ​outside, or toward the ​center: Could you ​bring the ​clothes in for me? The ​roof of ​theirhouse 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 ​placeexists where something can be put or ​added: Just ​pencil in ​youranswers on the ​attachedsheet. 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 ​electedposition or ​office: She’s been ​voted in for a second ​term as ​treasurer.

inadjective, adverb

 us   /ɪn/ infml
  • in adjective, adverb (FASHIONABLE)

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

innoun [C]

 us   /ɪn/
  • in noun [C] (ADVANTAGE)

an ​advantage resulting from a good ​relationship with someone ​powerful: Sal has an in with someone at the ​theater.

in.noun [C]

(plural in.)
abbreviation forinch

in-prefix

 us   /ɪn/
used to ​add the ​meaning not, ​lacking, or the ​opposite of to ​adjectives and to words ​formed from ​adjectives: incomplete/incompletely
(Definition of in from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"in." in Business English

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in.noun [C]

(also in) uk   us   MEASURES
written abbreviation for inch
(Definition of in. from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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