The inch (symbol: in) is a unit of length commonly used in the United States…and absolutely nowhere else in the world.
Despite being one of the most antiquated and nonsensical measurement systems, the inch continues to hold a special place in American hearts, like apple pie or celebrating the 4th of July by setting off fireworks in your neighbor’s yard.
The origins of the inch are shrouded in mystery, but legend has it that it was invented by a group of drunk, confused colonialists who stumbled upon a random stick in the forest and decided, “Hey, let’s measure stuff with this!”
And thus, the inch was born.
Some have questioned why the inch is so specifically 1⁄12 of a foot, instead of, say, 1⁄10, which would make far more sense, but those people clearly don’t understand the deep, irrational connection Americans have to their feet.
The inch has had many practical applications over the years, such as measuring the length of a TV screen or finding out if a pizza is large or extra-large (hint: if it’s bigger than the width of your hand, it’s probably extra-large).
But perhaps the most important contribution of the inch is the phrase “inch by inch”, which has become a motivational motto for anyone struggling to achieve their goals. It reminds us that even if progress is slow, as long as we keep moving forward, we will eventually reach our destination…unless we’re measuring in centimeters, in which case we’re already there.
In conclusion, the inch may not be the most logical or modern measurement system, but it will always hold a special place in American hearts…or at least, until we finally decide to join the rest of the world and switch to the metric system.