definition of in by The Free Dictionary



in 1




a. Within the limits, bounds, or area of: was hit in the face; born in the spring; a chair in the garden.

b. From the outside to a point within; into: threw the letter in the wastebasket.

2. To or at a situation or condition of: was split in two; in debt; a woman in love.


a. Having the activity, occupation, or function of: a life in politics; the officer in command.

b. During the act or process of: tripped in racing for the bus.


a. With the arrangement or order of: fabric that fell in luxuriant folds; arranged to purchase the car in equal payments.

b. After the style or form of: a poem in iambic pentameter.

5. With the characteristic, attribute, or property of: a tall man in an overcoat.


a. By means of: paid in cash.

b. Made with or through the medium of: a statue in bronze; a note written in German.

7. With the aim or purpose of: followed in pursuit.

8. With reference to: six inches in depth; has faith in your judgment.

9. Used to indicate the second and larger term of a ratio or proportion: saved only one in ten.


1. To or toward the inside: opened the door and stepped in.

2. To or toward a destination or goal: The mob closed in.

3. Sports So as to score, as by crossing home plate in baseball: singled the runner in.

4. Within a place, as of business or residence: The manager is in before anyone else.

5. So as to be available or under one’s control: We can proceed when all the evidence is in.

6. So as to include or incorporate: Fold in the egg whites.

7. So as to occupy a position of success or favor: campaigned hard and was voted in.

8. In a particular relationship: got in bad with their supervisor.


1. Located inside; inner.

2. Incoming; inward: took the in bus.

3. Holding office; having power: the in party.

4. Informal

a. Currently fashionable: the in thing to wear this season.

b. Concerned with or attuned to the latest fashions: the in crowd. See Synonyms at fashionable.

5. Relating to, understandable to, or coming from an exclusive group: an in reference.


1. One that has position, influence, or power: the ins against the outs.

2. Informal Influence; power: had an in with the authorities.


in for

Guaranteed to get or have: You’re in for a big surprise.

in on

Informed about; participating in: Only one business partner was not in on the illegal scheme.

in that

For the reason that.

in 2

or in.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. inside; within: no smoking in the auditorium.

2. at a place where there is: lying in the shade; walking in the rain.

3. indicating a state, situation, or condition: in a deep sleep; standing in silence.

4. before or when (a period of time) has elapsed: come back in one year.

5. using (a language, etc) as a means of communication: written in code.

6. concerned or involved with, esp as an occupation: in journalism.

7. expressing a ratio, proportion, or probability: one in five boys.

8. while or by performing the action of; as a consequence of or by means of: in crossing the street he was run over.

9. used to indicate goal or purpose: in honour of the president.

10. (used of certain animals) about to give birth to; pregnant with (specified offspring): in foal; in calf.

11. a variant of into: she fell in the water; he tore the paper in two.

12. have it in one (often foll by an infinitive) to have the ability (to do something)

13. in it informal Austral joining in; taking part

14. in that in so far as (conjunction) because or to the extent that; inasmuch as: I regret my remark in that it upset you.

15. nothing in it no difference or interval between two things

adv (particle)

16. in or into a particular place; inward or indoors: come in; bring him in.

17. so as to achieve office, power, or authority: the Conservatives got in at the last election.

18. so as to enclose: block in; cover in a hole.

19. (in certain games) so as to take one’s turn or one’s team’s turn at a certain aspect of the play; taking one’s innings: you have to get the other side out before you go in.

20. Brit (of a fire) alight: do you keep the fire in all night?.

21. (in combination) indicating an activity or gathering, esp one organized to protest against something: teach-in; work-in.

22. in at present at (the beginning, end, etc)

23. in between between

24. in for about to be affected by (something, esp something unpleasant): you’re in for a shock.

25. in on acquainted with or sharing in: I was in on all his plans.

26. in with associated with; friendly with; regarded highly by

27. have it in for have got it in for informal to wish or intend harm towards


28. (stressed) fashionable; modish: the in thing to do.

29. NZ competing: you’ve got to be in to win.


ins and outs intricacies or complications; details: the ins and outs of a computer system.

[Old English; compare Old High German in, Welsh yn, Old Norse ī, Latin in, Greek en]


the internet domain name for

(Computer Science) India


the chemical symbol for

(Elements & Compounds) indium


Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. (used to indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits): walking in the park.

2. (used to indicate inclusion within something abstract or immaterial): in politics; in the autumn.

3. (used to indicate inclusion within or occurrence during a period or limit of time): in ancient times; a task done in ten minutes.

4. (used to indicate limitation or qualification, as of situation, condition, relation, manner, action, etc.): to speak in a whisper.

5. (used to indicate means): spoken in French.

6. (used to indicate motion or direction from outside to a point within) into: Let’s go in the house.

7. (used to indicate transition from one state to another): to break in half.

8. (used to indicate object or purpose): speaking in honor of the event.


9. in or into some place, position, state, relation, etc.: Please come in.

10. on the inside; within.

11. in one’s house or office.

12. in office or power.

13. in possession or occupancy.

14. having the turn to play, as in a game.

15. Baseball. (of an infielder or outfielder) in a position closer to home plate than usual; short: The third baseman played in.

16. on good terms; in favor: in with his boss.

17. in vogue; in style: Hats are in this year.

18. in season.


19. inner; internal: the in part of a mechanism.


a. in favor with advanced or sophisticated people; fashionable; stylish: the in place to dine.

b. comprehensible only to a special group: an in joke.

21. included in a favored group.

22. inbound: an in train.

23. plentiful; available.

24. being in power: the in party.


25. Usu., ins. persons who are in.

26. pull or influence: He’s got an in with the senator.

27. a valid or playable return or service in sports.


1. in for, certain to undergo (a disagreeable experience).

2. in for it, Slang. about to suffer punishment or unpleasant consequences.

3. in like Flynn, Slang. in circumstances of assured success.

4. in that, because; inasmuch as.

[before 900; Middle English, Old English, c. Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old High German]




Chem. Symbol.




a prefix representing English in (income; indwelling; inland), used also as a verb-formative with transitive, intensive, or sometimes little apparent force (intrust; ingulf). It often assumes the same forms as in- 2, such as en-1, em-1, im-3.
[Middle English, Old English; see in]



a prefix of Latin origin meaning primarily “in,” but used also as a verb-formative with the same force as in-1 (incarcerate; incantation).

Also, il- , im-, ir-. Compare em- 1 , en-1.



a prefix of Latin origin, corresponding to English un-, having a negative or privative force, freely used as an English formative, esp. of adjectives and their derivatives and of nouns (indefensible; inexpensive; invariable). It has the same variants before consonants as in-2 (immeasurable; illiterate; irregular, etc.). Compare il- 2 , im-2, ir-2.



a noun suffix used in chemical nomenclature (glycerin; acetin). In spelling, usage wavers between -in and -ine. In chemistry a certain distinction of use is attempted, basic substances having the termination -ine rather than -in (ammine; aniline), and -in being restricted to certain neutral compounds, glycerides, glucosides, and proteids (albumin), but this distinction is not always observed.



a suffixal use of the adverb in, extracted from sit-in, forming nouns, usu. from verbs, referring to organized protests through or in support of the named activity (kneel-in; pray-in) or, more generally, to any organized social or cultural activity (cook-in; sing-in).



Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used for saying where something is

You use in as a preposition to say where someone or something is, or where something happens.

Carlos was in the bath.

I wanted to play in the park.

In New York we saw the Statue of Liberty.

In is sometimes used with superlatives.

The Ueno Zoo is the oldest zoo in Japan.

His company is one of the biggest in the world.

2. used for saying where something goes

You use in as an adverb to say that someone goes into a place, or that something is put into a container.

Someone knocked at the door, and Hana called ‘Come in!’.

She opened her bag and put her phone in.

In is sometimes a preposition meaning into.

She threw both letters in the fire.

3. used with expressions of time

In is often used with expressions of time.

You use in to say how long something takes.

He learned to drive in six months.

The food was all eaten in a few minutes.

You also use in to say how long it will be before something happens in the future.

In another hour it will be dark.

You use in to say that something happens during a particular year, month, or season.

In 1872, there was a terrible fire in Chicago.

Her birthday is in April.

We plan to go camping in the summer.

You use in with the to say that something happens regularly each morning, afternoon, or evening.

I often go swimming in the morning.

Dad used to sit there in the evening and listen to the radio.

Don’t say ‘in the night’ to mean that something happens regularly each night. Use at night.

There were no lights in the street at night.

Be Careful!
Don’t say that something happens “” a particular day or date. Say that it happens on that day or date.

On Tuesday they went shopping.

Ali was born on April 10th.

Be Careful!
American speakers sometimes omit the on.

I’m going to a party Wednesday.

Be Careful!
Don’t say that something lasts or continues “” a period of time. Say that it lasts or continues for that time.

I have known you for a long time.

I worked for the same company for ten years.

4. meaning ‘wearing’

In is sometimes used when saying what someone is wearing.

The bar was full of men in baseball caps.

Be Careful!
Don’t use “” when you are talking about someone’s ability to speak a language. Don’t say, for example, ‘She speaks in Russian‘. Say ‘She speaks Russian’.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012

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