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

Guest accessorized their locks with flowers and trendy hairpins while their looks featured tulle skirts, African-print two pieces, and flowy sundresses. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Our Favorite Fashion Moments At CurlFest New York," 29 July 2019 Over time the ecosystem may wander horizontally along the curve, swept by a current of outside influences, toward one of the hairpin bends — a tipping point. Quanta Magazine, "Nature’s Critical Warning System," 18 Nov. 2015 Cuyana's well-made, minimalist travel set includes two pebbled leather pouches: One bigger bag, for storing toiletries and tools, and a smaller pouch, for stashing makeup essentials and/or hairpins. Maria Cassano, Allure, "The 21 Best Makeup Bags and Cosmetic Cases for Every Budget," 29 Aug. 2018 A few of our current obsessions from the line are the Pale Hydrangea faux-flower headband, the Giant Dahlia faux-flower hairpin, and the Blossom faux-flower headband, the latter of which was just made for festival season. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Meghan Markle’s Wedding Florist Philippa Craddock Just Launched Her Own Line of Luxury Hair Accessories," 2 Apr. 2019 And then on my last day of filming, Jenna [Coleman] gave me an antique hairpin to commemorate Skerrett doing Victoria’s hair that was really, really lovely. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Victoria Actress Nell Hudson on Why She Didn't Want a Fairytale Ending for Skerrett," 4 Feb. 2019 Contraband hairpins were allowed but had to be returned at the end of the evening. Joy Resmovits,, "What prom looks like in juvenile detention: contraband hairpins have to be returned at the end of the night," 21 June 2018 This year, pinners are particularly excited to celebrate with metallic eyeshadow, berry lipstick, shimmering nails, and golden hairpins. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Pinterest Shared Its Most Popular Holiday Beauty Routines for 2018," 6 Nov. 2018 Yamaha was smart enough to stage this road test for us in the Austrian Alps, where the roads suit it: sweeping turns, crazy-tight hairpins, gravel, wet corners, and discarded roadside schnitzel. David Curcurito, Popular Mechanics, "Don't Call It a Trike: Why We Love Yamaha’s Double-Front-Wheel Motorcycle," 27 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The stoppage, as racers were flying through hairpin bends down from the Iseran climb, threw the race into chaos. NBC News, "Hailstorm blasts Tour de France course, forces rare stage stoppage," 26 July 2019 In some places along the drive, the speed limit will drop to 15 or 20 mph for hairpin curves, and even skilled drivers will do well to heed those warnings. Kiona Smith-strickland, Popular Mechanics, "The Talimena Scenic Drive: Fall Leaves in the Ouachitas," 3 Oct. 2013 The road from his usual James Bond suave to Joe Bang’s twang being a long one with lots of hairpin curves. Jennifer Brett, ajc, "What NASCAR has to say about Atlanta-filmed “Logan Lucky”," 19 Aug. 2017 The narrow two-lane road left little room for error, with hairpin curves and drop-offs of several hundred feet at several spots. Brady Macdonald,, "A trip on Route 66 proves to be uncharted territory for a master planner," 9 June 2017

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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Statistics for hairpin

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for hairpin

The first known use of hairpin was in 1771

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hairpin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hairpin

Spanish Central: Translation of hairpin

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

Comments on hairpin

What made you want to look up hairpin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


recurring in steady succession

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