pin·​cer ˈpin(t)-sər How to pronounce pincer (audio)
 especially for sense 1 US often  ˈpin-chər
pincers plural : an instrument having two short handles and two grasping jaws working on a pivot and used for gripping things
: a claw (as of a lobster) resembling a pair of pincers : chela
pincerlike adjective

Examples of pincer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The new species was identified by its body shape, size, pincers and other subtle physical features, the study said. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 8 Mar. 2024 Near a campsite in Thailand, a hairy creature with brown pincers lurked under a rock. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 8 Mar. 2024 Their two front pincers can be used to attack prey and fend off predators. Scott Travers, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 The ant was shaking her thorax at him now, beckoning him closer with her pincers. Simon Rich, The New Yorker, 15 Jan. 2024 Black burn marks on some of the crab carapaces and pincers indicate that the crustaceans were subjected to temperatures up to 600 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, indicative of being roasted on coals. Ryan McRae, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Dec. 2023 The result was perfectly weird, a crab-looking thing with pincers, bird claws, and a flames coming out of its head. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 12 Oct. 2023 The storage device is connected to the telescope’s onboard computer via Ethernet to continuously transfer the data, and it is attached to the telescope with mechanical pincers used by professional archers and chosen because of their ability to withstand high tension. IEEE Spectrum, 21 Nov. 2023 From the golden Sumerian pincers found at Ur’s royal cemetery to the Roman Britain tweezer cache that made headlines earlier this year, these finds are often thousands of years old—and instantly recognizable. Abbie Kozolchyk,, 17 Oct. 2023

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

Word History


Middle English pinceour, from Anglo-French *pinceour, pinchure, from Anglo-French *pincher, pincer to pinch, from Vulgar Latin *pinctiare, *punctiare, from Latin punctum puncture — more at point

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of pincer was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pincer

Cite this Entry

“Pincer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


pin·​cer ˈpin-chər How to pronounce pincer (audio)
plural : an instrument having two handles and two jaws that is used to grip things
: a claw (as of a lobster) resembling a pair of pincers
pincerlike adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on pincer

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