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

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 On Thursday, more than 700,000 people were expected to line the roads of Stage 12, culminating on the 21 hairpins of the Alpe d’Huez, one of cycling’s most famous climbs. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Tour de France’s Crowd Control Strategy: Hope Everyone Behaves," 19 July 2018 From there the road descends in muddy hairpins through forests of towering blue pine to the lush valley of Punakha. Lawrence Osborne, Town & Country, "Why Everyone Is Traveling to Bhutan," 30 Mar. 2015 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

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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Statistics for hairpin

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

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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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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

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to enclose within walls

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