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 Six years of excavations at the site have yielded such artifacts as a hammer, a key, a hairpin and a spoon. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ancient Roman Villa Discovered Beneath Italian Apartment Complex," 8 Oct. 2020 Metal hairpin legs give the design sleek, contemporary lines. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "The New Novogratz Line at Target Is Your Go-To Source for Affordable Modern Home Decor," 18 Aug. 2020 On those stretches, the ditches are replaced by tight metal guardrails with reflective yellow arrows that point drivers around the hairpin turns, some nearly one hundred and eighty degrees — a true switchback. Longreads, "In Pocahontas County, Deep Divisions and a Gruesome Discovery," 10 Aug. 2020 Like lighting a bonfire with a match, a straw and a hairpin, the Twins used all sorts of humble ingredients to ignite their offense Monday. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Twins follow walk-off win over Pittsburgh with pretend hugs, fake high fives," 4 Aug. 2020 If nothing else, this virtual road trip around the gorge will prepare you for the real thing; a drive that’s full of hairpin turns and sharp drop-offs. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, "10 Virtual Road Trips That’ll Inspire You to Plan Your Next Big Adventure," 29 May 2020 The approach establishes the stakes: No access to legal abortions for a long time meant death for many women, who resorted to poking corset ribs, buttonhooks, hairpins and knitting needles through the cervix to disrupt unwanted pregnancies. Elizabeth Rusch, New York Times, "How Do You Explain the History of Reproductive Rights to Teenagers?," 20 Feb. 2020 Secure the hairpin legs to the base using shorter screws and the drill. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "How to Build a Stylish Midcentury Modern Dog Bed All by Yourself," 22 Jan. 2020 Countless waterfalls and lush tropical rain forests make the 600 hairpin curves and 59 one-lane bridges worth the trouble. Sarah Wesley Lemire,, "Aloha spirit in Hawaii: Maui and Kauai a perfect pairing," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Hamilton started faster than Bottas and had the inside line into the hairpin bend at turn one., "Hamilton Wins His 91st F1 Race to Match Schumacher's Record," 11 Oct. 2020 Schaake’s speech was a hairpin turn in rhetorical space. Nick Romeo, The New Yorker, "What Can America Learn from Europe About Regulating Big Tech?," 18 Aug. 2020 Within a few yards, the road makes a hairpin turn through a broken flank of the extinct cone volcano. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, "Enjoy White Mountains views for miles on this not-too-crowded hike. Here's how to do it," 7 Aug. 2020 Amazon has a ton of hairpin leg options with different sizes and colors, including a set of four 12-inch black legs for about $30. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "Create a Rustic Bedside Table Using This Super Easy Cutting Board Hack," 27 July 2020 Front-end loaders were used over the weekend to build berms of snow to bar access to the parking area at the top of the pass and at a pullout called the Tunnel Turn, located at a hairpin switchback about a mile and a half from the Loveland Ski Area. John Meyer, The Know, "CDOT closes two Loveland Pass pullouts due to backcountry skiers parking illegally," 21 Apr. 2020 If your plans involve regularly traversing hairpin mountain passes or embarking on day-long hikes, a campervan or truck camper would best fit the bill. Stephen Starr, National Geographic, "Vacationing by RV this summer? Here’s what you need to know," 18 June 2020 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

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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Statistics for hairpin

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hairpin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for hairpin


How to pronounce hairpin (audio)

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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