pin·​cer | \ ˈpin(t)-sər How to pronounce pincer (audio) , especially for sense 1 US often ˈpin-chər \

Definition of pincer

1a pincers plural : an instrument having two short handles and two grasping jaws working on a pivot and used for gripping things
b : a claw (as of a lobster) resembling a pair of pincers : chela

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pincer

pincerlike \ ˈpin(t)-​sər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce pincerlike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pincer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What the law's proponents conveniently don't acknowledge is that the CAA is only one arm of Modi's pincer to disenfranchise Muslims on India's soil. Shikha Dalmia, TheWeek, "How Modi supporters are trying to cloak an anti-Muslim bill in American law," 7 Feb. 2020 Crabs and lobsters have pincer claws that over evolutionary time became enlarged. Kendall Powell, Scientific American, "The Weapons of Sexual Rivalry," 24 Dec. 2019 Some large-pincer harvestman species live in cold, humid caves in the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Balkan Peninsula, forming a narrow band across Europe. Joshua Rapp Learn, Scientific American, "Cave Arachnids’ Modern Range Matches Ancient Glacier Outline," 23 Dec. 2019 But water doesn't have eight legs, pincers and a venomous bite. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "She thought there was water in her ear. Turns out it was a venomous spider," 23 Aug. 2019 Tulsi Gabbard’s pincer move on incarceration, using data first reported by the Free Beacon, made matters worse. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Medicare for All, Progressive-Campaign Killer," 7 Dec. 2019 Three fingers were gone, stubs now, his right hand a pincer of thumb and forefinger. Tim Requarth, Longreads, "The Final Five Percent," 22 Oct. 2019 And by embracing a profile that emphasized LGBTQ rights, climate change and justice for Canada’s Indigenous people, Trudeau placed himself inside a political pincer of his own construction. David Shribman, Los Angeles Times, "The good news for Justin Trudeau? He has Obama’s support and Trump’s scorn," 19 Oct. 2019 Upon our approach, the scorpions would sometimes scurry away, sometimes duck into a hole and, just as often, raise their pincers and arch their tails in preparation for battle. Peter Prengaman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I’ve got one!’ Hunting neon scorpions in the Arizona desert," 19 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pincer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pincer

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

History and Etymology for pincer

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pincer

Time Traveler for pincer

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pincer

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pincer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pincer


How to pronounce pincer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pincer

: a small tool that is used for holding or gripping small objects
: a claw of a lobster or crab and some insects


pin·​cer | \ ˈpin-chər How to pronounce pincer (audio) , ˈpin-sər \

Kids Definition of pincer

1 pincers plural : a tool with two handles and two jaws for holding or gripping small objects
2 : a part (as the claw of a lobster) resembling a pair of pincers

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pincer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pincer

Spanish Central: Translation of pincer

Nglish: Translation of pincer for Spanish Speakers

Comments on pincer

What made you want to look up pincer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!