hair·​pin | \ ˈher-ˌpin How to pronounce hairpin (audio) \

Definition of hairpin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pin to hold the hair in place specifically : a long U-shaped pin
2 : something shaped like a hairpin specifically : a sharp U-shaped turn in a road



Definition of hairpin (Entry 2 of 2)

: having the shape of a hairpin a hairpin turn also : having hairpin turns a steep hairpin road

Examples of hairpin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The eight-mile mountain road features seemingly countless hairpin turns carved into pine forests and steep crags, offering stunning views. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Entering the hairpin, Jones, the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan driver in the No. 18 Honda broke late and dove inside of James Hinchcliffe vying for 8th place. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 27 Sep. 2021 But using one—or using tiny metal spoon instruments, a hairpin, or other metal implements—can injure the skin of the ear canal, Dr. Ren points out. Madeleine Burry,, 14 Sep. 2021 An overzealous fan follows Alexia out to the car for an autograph and gets a stiletto-sharp hairpin to the brain — an injury not unlike Alexia’s own affliction. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 8 Oct. 2021 And since then, there’s really only been Bill, who bought her a hairpin and got her a job at Revlon that starts in the new year. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 28 Sep. 2021 Theoretically, that perceived error put O'Ward back in harm's way on Lap 1, when going through the Turn 11 hairpin, Dale Coyne Racing's Ed Jones dove low inside of James Hinchcliffe from 9th-place and ran right into O'Ward's left-rear tire. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 26 Sep. 2021 The portions of the course in between would include several tight, slow 90-degree turns and one near-hairpin, two-turn section coming off Jefferson. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Sep. 2021 Other places, such as the notorious Amalfi Coast drive, with its steep drop-offs and hairpin turns, or the vertigo-inducing roads around the lakes of Northern Italy, are nerve-racking enough to suck the joy right out of the scenery. Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After going around a hairpin turn on the course, the pack around her tightened up, and a girl behind her stepped on the back of her left shoe. Casey Brogan, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Nov. 2021 Traffic regularly backs up along the two-lane Highway 49, a slow, steep drive with hairpin curves near the American River Confluence and several hiking trails. Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Consider driving down a mountain road with a hairpin turn up ahead. Darrell Moon, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 The paddle shifters — unlike many vehicles — responded quickly to my touch, downshifting 4-3-2 into a hairpin turn with a matching engine blip. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 9 Oct. 2021 Another victim, a woman, also gets the hairpin treatment after a bit of intimacy, though in this case the intimacy feels like less of an imposition. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 8 Oct. 2021 So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn attracted attention. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 Several hairpin turns and steep drops-off may not be suitable for RVs. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 20 Aug. 2021 On Tuesday and into the early hours of Wednesday fire trucks and their bleary-eyed crews careened around hairpin turns, their headlights slicing through the murky gray smoke like the beam of a lighthouse on a foggy morning. New York Times, 1 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hairpin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hairpin


1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1887, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for hairpin

Time Traveler

The first known use of hairpin was in 1771

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Dictionary Entries Near hairpin



hairpin lace

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Statistics for hairpin

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hairpin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for hairpin



English Language Learners Definition of hairpin

: a pin that is worn in your hair especially : a pin shaped like a U that is worn to hold your hair in place
: an extremely sharp turn in a road that is shaped like a U


hair·​pin | \ ˈher-ˌpin How to pronounce hairpin (audio) \

Kids Definition of hairpin

: a pin in the shape of a U for holding the hair in place


hair·​pin | \ ˈha(ə)r-ˌpin, ˈhe(ə)r- How to pronounce hairpin (audio) \
variants: also hairpin loop

Medical Definition of hairpin

: a region in single-stranded RNA or DNA that is double-stranded due to pairing between purine and pyrimidine bases in adjacent sequences of the RNA or DNA that are complementary and inverted

More from Merriam-Webster on hairpin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hairpin

Nglish: Translation of hairpin for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about hairpin


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