pin down


pinned down; pinning down; pins down

transitive verb

: to cause or force (someone) to make a definite statement or decision about something
Reporters tried to pin him down on the specific changes he wants to make to the tax laws.
: to find out (something) with certainty
Can you pin down when the change occurred?
I'm trying to pin the source of the problem down.

Examples of pin down in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As one man pins down a panicked animal, another cuts away the plastic deeply embedded in its neck. Cara Buckley, New York Times, 26 Mar. 2024 Macdonald had to use her whole body to pin down the squirming shark. Linda Robertson, Miami Herald, 27 Mar. 2024 An available spot for Easter brunch can be as hard to pin down as the holiday’s favorite bunny. Zoe Glasser, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2024 If rundown’s identities are multiple, its origins, too, cannot quite be pinned down. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 More research will be needed to pin down the details — to find the control that adjusts the control. Quanta Magazine, 11 Mar. 2024 The hiker was able to pin down the coyote down by its neck with his bare hands and suffocate the animal, Vieira told News 12. Cara Tabachnick, CBS News, 13 Feb. 2024 Psychologists, linguists and philosophers have long strived to pin down what a concept is. Simon Makin, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2024 Although the reasons are difficult to pin down, the lapse in client-facing customer service has coincided with recent cuts in trust and safety teams at several social media platforms. Jordan P. Hickey, Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pin down.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pin down was in 1765

Dictionary Entries Near pin down

Cite this Entry

“Pin down.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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