\ˈpin \

Definition of pin 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a piece of solid material (such as wood or metal) used especially for fastening things together or as a support by which one thing may be suspended from another

b obsolete : the center peg of a target also : the center itself

c : something that resembles a pin especially in slender elongated form an electrical connector pin

d(1) : one of the pieces constituting the target in various games (such as bowling)

(2) : the peg at which a quoit is pitched

(3) : the staff of the flag marking a hole on a golf course

e : a peg for regulating the tension of the strings of a musical instrument

f : the part of a key stem that enters a lock

g : a belaying pin

2a(1) : a very thin small pointed metal pin with a head used especially for fastening cloth

(2) : little, trifle bother them all! I don't care a pin about them— Bram Stoker

b : an ornament or emblem fastened to clothing with a pin

c(1) : bobby pin

(2) : hairpin

(3) : safety pin

3 : leg usually used in plural wobbly on his pins

4 : a fall in wrestling


pinned; pinning

Definition of pin (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to fasten, join, or secure with a pin

b : to hold fast or immobile

c : to present (a young woman) with a fraternity pin as a pledge of affection

2a : fasten pinned his hopes on a miracle pin the blame on someone else

b : to assign the blame or responsibility for pin the robbery on a night watchman

c : to define or determine clearly or precisely usually used with down it is hard to pin down exactly when things changed— Katharine Whittemore

3a : to make (a chess opponent's piece) unable to move without exposing the king to check or a valuable piece to capture

b of a wrestler : to secure a fall over (an opponent)



Definition of pin (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : of or relating to a pin

2 of leather : having a grain suggesting the heads of pins

\ˈpin \

Definition of PIN (Entry 4 of 4)

personal identification number

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Synonyms for pin

Synonyms: Noun


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Examples of pin in a Sentence


He handed out pins with the peace sign on them. a cat that was still a little unsteady on its pins after anesthesia


She pinned a rose to her dress. The general pinned the medal on the soldier. She pinned up her hair. He pinned a sign on the wall. The passengers were pinned under the wreckage. The guards pinned his arms to his sides. She was pinned against the side of the car.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The enormous number of memory channels will demand an enormous socket, currently believed to be a 5903 pin connector. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Intel announces Cascade Lake Xeons: 48 cores and 12-channel memory per socket," 5 Nov. 2018 Beatrice further accessorized the look with an silver bee pin — perhaps a nod to her nickname, Bea — as well as drop earrings and a silver bracelet. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Princess Beatrice Bucks Royal Tradition at Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Each kit comes with four sample-size products and one lapel pin of the iconic Sephora black and white shopping bag. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Sephora Is Offering Mystery Makeup Kits Full of Beauty Surprises," 26 Sep. 2018 This novel builds, subtly, to a moment that allows Andrei a career victory that may enable Putin’s regime to impale those Andrei loves most like moths on pins. New York Times, "Struggling to Love, Work and Do the Right Thing in Putin’s Russia," 9 July 2018 The IronBirds are now 3-0 on Sundays at home in the pin stripe pants and colorful Banner jerseys. Randy Mcroberts, The Aegis, "Aberdeen slips back under .500 with Monday loss at home," 3 July 2018 This year, each branch will be handing out its own distinctive button or pin. John Wilkens,, "Library punches all the buttons for annual Waldo contest," 25 June 2018 In the wild, it is easily spotted by virtue of its flat-topped, pin cushion looking blooms of creamy white. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Why this Kentucky plant is the 'Manolo Blahniks' of the garden world," 22 June 2018 My Armada had a power tilt/sliding moon roof, rain-sensing wipers with de-icer, a very convenient power liftgate, and a seven-pin wiring harness with trailer brake control pre-wired. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Nissan Armada full-size SUV has plentyof room for the family, lots of technology," 17 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But for those on the West Coast, that sure sign of autumn's arrival is slightly harder to pin down. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Dakota Johnson Says Hello to Fall With a Femme Fatale Pedicure," 12 Oct. 2018 Like stars in the sky, a single definition of celestial makeup is hard to pin down. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "This Dreamy Fall Trend Is Like Unicorn Makeup's Cooler Older Sister," 19 Sep. 2018 Of course, one the families most significant economic values is difficult to pin down. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "This is How the Royal Family Earned Its Billions," 11 Aug. 2018 Those of us who’ve been through a political philosophy class or three know that the concept of equal opportunity is devilishly hard to pin down in a way that doesn’t become either trivial or grandiose. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Centrist Democrats are out of ideas," 30 July 2018 Though hard to pin down, people enjoy roller coasters thanks to a combination of speed, conquering fear and the positive effects associated with a massive rise in physiological arousal. Richard Stephens, Smithsonian, "The History and Psychology of Roller Coasters," 12 July 2018 What makes a documentary a success in theaters is often hard to pin down; charged political movies, filmed concerts, and visually stunning nature docs make up the highest-grossing entries in the medium. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What’s Driving Documentaries to Box-Office Success?," 11 July 2018 Labour, like data, is a resource that is hard to pin down. The Economist, "What if people were paid for their data?," 7 July 2018 The reasons behind the drop-off — driven by gains in San Francisco and Oakland as well as Vallejo and Antioch — are difficult to pin down, according to police officials and criminologists. Evan Sernoffsky,, "Bay Area homicides plunge to historic lows in first half of 2018," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Timex, whose watch output through the 1970s was still mostly pin-lever mechanicals, had become the world’s top watch company in sales through a policy of cut-throat price-cutting that wiped out competitors., "Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets With President Trump," 27 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pin.' 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 pin


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pin


Middle English, from Old English pinn (akin to Old High German pfinn peg), perhaps from Latin pinna quill, feather — more at pen

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Statistics for pin

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pin

The first known use of pin was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for pin



English Language Learners Definition of pin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a thin, pointed piece of stiff wire with a rounded head at one end that is used especially for fastening pieces of cloth

: a thin, pointed piece of stiff wire with a decoration at one end

: a small usually circular object that has writing and often a picture on it and that has a pin on the back so that it can be fastened to clothing, bags, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of pin (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fasten or attach (something) with a pin

: to prevent or stop (someone or something) from moving by holding or pressing firmly against something


\ˈpin \

Kids Definition of pin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small pointed piece of wire with a rounded head used especially for fastening pieces of cloth

2 : something (as an ornament or badge) fastened to the clothing by a pin

3 : a slender pointed piece (as of wood or metal) usually having the shape of a cylinder used to fasten articles together or in place

4 : one of ten pieces set up as the target in bowling


pinned; pinning

Kids Definition of pin (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fasten or join with a pin She pinned a sign on the wall.

2 : to prevent or be prevented from moving The guards pinned his arms to his sides.


\ˈpin \

Medical Definition of pin 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a metal rod driven into or through a fractured bone to immobilize it

2 : a metal rod driven into the root of a reconstructed tooth to provide support for a crown or into the jaw to provide support for an artificial tooth

pinned; pinning

Medical Definition of pin (Entry 2 of 3)

: to fasten, join, or secure with a pin

Medical Definition of PIN (Entry 3 of 3)

prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia

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