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

Fish eat some of the creatures that eat coral, while crabs and shrimp use their pincers to protect their coral homes. Isabelle Gerretsen, CNN, "Can the world's first land-based coral farm save our reefs?," 13 June 2019 Earwigs are unusual among insects in that the female fusses over her eggs and nymphs, and uses her pincers to protect them. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Control Earwigs in Your Garden and Keep Them From Getting in Your House," 27 July 2018 With luck, the pincer will come free and bring with it the cartilage within the claw. House Beautiful, "Todd English's Surf & Turf Recipe at Kitchen of the Year," 20 July 2012 Two forces are acting as a pincer, making the decision more and more obvious. David Roberts, Vox, "We could shift to sustainability and save $26 trillion. Why are aren’t we doing it?," 6 Sep. 2018 For the claws, bend the lower smaller pincer shell on the claw from side to side and then pull it away from the claw. House Beautiful, "Todd English's Surf & Turf Recipe at Kitchen of the Year," 20 July 2012 Try to get pincers with a flat spatula design in order to smooth moss out over a surface. Kevin Espiritu For, Good Housekeeping, "How And Why You Should Try Growing Moss In Your Garden," 29 Aug. 2017 The pincers are closing on what remains of affirmative action, and in a few years, with Justice Gorsuch and Justice Federalist Society Favorite TBA on the bench, the conservative movement may finally get its wish. Jay Willis, GQ, "The Trump Administration Is Hell-Bent on Ending Affirmative Action," 3 July 2018 Additional training and dedication to the hip arthroscopy surgical techniques have allowed him to become proficient in treating femoral acetabular impingement (cam and pincer impingement) and labral tears of the hip. Orthocincy,, "About us: Dr. Kevin J. Shaw," 19 June 2018

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

Statistics for pincer

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pincer

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pincer



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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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!