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A hinge 1
A hinge 1


From Middle English henge, from Old English *henge (hinge), compare Old English henge- in hengeclif (overhanging cliff), Old English hengen (hanging; that upon which a thing is hung), possibly from Proto-Germanic *hangaz, *hangiz (hanging, adjective). Akin to Scots heenge (hinge), Saterland Frisian Hänge (hinge), Dutch heng (door handle), Low German henge (a hook, hinge, handle), Middle Dutch henghe, hanghe (a hook, hinge, handle), Scots hingel (any attachment by which something is hung or fastened), Dutch hengel (hook), geheng (hinge), hengsel (hinge), German dialectal hängel (hook, joint), German Henkel (handle, hook), Old English hōn (to hang), hangian (to cause to hang, hang up). More at hang.


  • enPR: hĭnj, IPA(key): /ˈhɪndʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪndʒ


hinge (plural hinges)

  1. A jointed or flexible device that allows the pivoting of a door etc.
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, The Last Man, volume 3, chapter 1
      The massy portals of the churches swung creaking on their hinges; and some lay dead on the pavement.
  2. A naturally occurring joint resembling such hardware in form or action, as in the shell of a bivalve.
    • 1862, Charles Darwin, The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects:
      The pedicel of the pollinium is articulated as before by a hinge to the disc; it can move freely only in one direction owing to one end of the disc being upturned.
  3. A stamp hinge, a folded and gummed paper rectangle for affixing postage stamps in an album.
  4. A principle, or a point in time, on which subsequent reasonings or events depend.
    This argument was the hinge on which the question turned.
    • 1840, Adam Duncan Tait, Remarks on a Pamphlet by the Reverend James Buchanan, page 26:
      But let me say, with all deference, that these positions do not appear to me to touch the hinge of the argument before us.
  5. (statistics) The median of the upper or lower half of a batch, sample, or probability distribution.
  6. One of the four cardinal points, east, west, north, or south.
    • 1697, Thomas Creech, The five books of Mr. Manilius containing a system of the ancient astronomy and astrology: together with the philosophy of the Stoicks, page 121:
      If when the Moon is in the Hinge at East, / The Birth breaks forward from its native rest; / Full Eighty Years, if you two Years abate, / This Station gives, and long defers its Fate
    • 1671, John Milton, “Book the Fourth”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398, page 100:
      In ruine reconcil'd: nor slept the winds / Within thir stony caves, but rush'd abroad / From the four hinges of the world, and fell


  • (device upon which a door hangs): har
  • (statistics): quartile


  • (device upon which a door hangs): pintel

Derived termsEdit



hinge (third-person singular simple present hinges, present participle hinging or hingeing, simple past and past participle hinged)

  1. (transitive) To attach by, or equip with a hinge.
  2. (intransitive, with on or upon) To depend on something.
    • 2015, Louise Taylor, Papiss Cissé and Jonny Evans spitting row mars Manchester United’s win over Newcastle (in The Guardian, 4 March 2015)[1]
      Games can hinge on the sort of controversial decision made by Taylor in the 10th minute. After Rivière collected Gabriel Obertan’s pass and sashayed beyond Daley Blind he drew the United centre-half into a rash, clumsy challenge but, puzzlingly, Taylor detected no penalty.
  3. (transitive, archaeology) The breaking off of the distal end of a knapped stone flake whose presumed course across the face of the stone core was truncated prematurely, leaving not a feathered distal end but instead the scar of a nearly perpendicular break.
    The flake hinged at an inclusion in the core.
  4. (obsolete) To bend.





Middle DutchEdit