An inch (pulgada) is a British measurement which is the same as 2.54 centimetres. There are 12 inches in a foot, and there are three feet in a yard (yard). Nowadays, many people in Britain use centimetres and metres.

The word “Inch” is also used figuratively. Examine these:

  • I have searched every inch of the house but I could not find my keys (he buscado hasta en el ultimo rincón de la casa, pero…). This means that you have searched every part of the house.
  • Mr. Boris Johnson would not give an inch (no cedería ni un ápice…) on the subject of Brexit and the Irish border.
  • The car missed me “by an inch” (faltó poco para que me atropellara el coche). So, I was within an inch of death (estaba a dos dedos de la muerte).
  •  Mr. Putin needs to lose a few inches (…adelgazar un poco).
  • In the negotiations, Mr. Morales did not give an inch (…no hizo la menor concesión).
  • Someone can “inch forward”, moving very slowly and carefully (avanzando muy lentamente). For example, Mrs May, the British Prime Minister is inching towards a Brexit deal.

There is also an expression – to give an inch and take a mile – meaning that someone if is offered something they will take as much as they can, and is usually improper (indecoroso) behaviour.

So, give Mr. Sanchez an inch and he will take a mile (…dale un dedo y se toma hasta el codo).

So the English people may have stopped using inches for measurements, but the word lives on in other ways.


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