hair·pin | \ˈher-ˌpin \

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 track has 17 turns, including three extreme hairpins, and multiple elevation changes. Fortune, "You'll Need to Spend $350,000 to Join This Private Miami Club," 28 June 2018 Generally, though, the songs aim to please crowds with sharp executions of familiar pop-rap sounds, lacking the hairpin turns of Lemonade or Beyoncé. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Surprise Album Makes Marriage Into a Spectacle," 17 June 2018 This three-hour drive is considered one of the great scenic drives in the world, along a twisting road, full of hairpin turns and dozens of bridges too narrow for two cars to pass at the same time. Mark Arsenault,, "A beach agnostic’s guide to Hawaii," 13 June 2018 Coming out of a 90-degree turn, the motor provided enough pop to chirp the tires and make up some time lost on the hairpin. Robert Duffer,, "Review: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is betta’, inside and out," 22 May 2018 The story and performances have gotten viewers rooting for both Eve and Villanelle, a psychopath who executes targets with a poison-filled hairpin and toxic perfume. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "In ‘Killing Eve,’ a Surprising Plot Builds an Audience," 21 May 2018 Secure the crown to your hair by using hairpins, or adding an extra wire and twisting the wires together in the back to complete the crown. Mark Kintzel, Good Housekeeping, "A Wedding Stylist's Guide To Making Your Own Beautiful Flower Crown At Home," 18 Sep. 2017 Other signifiers pertaining to Japanese hair culture that are often appropriated also include Kanzashi, the ornamental flower hairpins and accessories worn in special occasions and ceremonies — and no, Coachella is not one of them. David Yi, Teen Vogue, "The Chun Li Challenge is the Latest Example of Pop Culture Stereotyping Asian Culture," 27 Apr. 2018 Fast sweepers and tight hairpins, inclines and declines, and one terrifying off-camber and downhill left (Turn 10). Car and Driver, "Lightning Lap 2017: 19 New Performance Cars Attack America's Most Grueling Racetrack!," 30 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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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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 \

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- \
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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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