pin·​point | \ ˈpin-ˌpȯint How to pronounce pinpoint (audio) \

Definition of pinpoint

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : something that is extremely small or insignificant
2 : the point of a pin
3 : an extremely small or sharp point



Definition of pinpoint (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : extremely fine or precise
2 : located, fixed, or directed with extreme precision pinpoint targets
3 : small as a pinpoint


pinpointed; pinpointing; pinpoints

Definition of pinpoint (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to locate or aim with great precision or accuracy pinpoint a source
2a : to fix, determine, or identify with precision pinpoint the cause
b : to cause to stand out conspicuously : highlight

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for pinpoint

Synonyms: Adjective

accurate, close, delicate, exact, fine, hairline, mathematical, precise, refined, rigorous, spot-on

Synonyms: Verb

distinguish, finger, ID, identify, single (out)

Antonyms: Adjective

coarse, imprecise, inaccurate, inexact, rough

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pinpoint in a Sentence


The pitcher showed pinpoint control of his fastball. the pinpoint measurement of brain tumors is critically important


They were finally able to pinpoint the cause of the fire. He pinpointed the city on the map. Rescuers were able to pinpoint where the lost girl was. The military uses computer imaging to pinpoint targets.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But that doesn’t change what makes him such a devastating playmaker: the pinpoint passes into the outstretched arms of wide receivers, the searing sprints into open space, the ankle-breaking body feints in tight quarters. Chris Johnson And Eric Single,, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2018: Nos. 10–1," 21 June 2018 Kerfoot made it 2-1 with a tip-in at 16:43 of the second period, but Josi quickly restored the two-goal cushion by lifting a shot over Varlamov following a pinpoint pass from Austin Watson. Pat Graham, The Seattle Times, "Predators beat Avalanche 4-1, Laviolette earns win No. 600," 21 Jan. 2019 But the most amazing feature of this 22-foot-high chamber is its dome, which can control solar simulations with pinpoint precision. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Futuristic Labs That Forge Gore-Tex," 28 Nov. 2016 The shell also incorporates fins and a guidance system, allowing it to engage pinpoint targets on land or missiles and aircraft in the air. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Quietly Tested Mach 3 Heavy Gun Shells That Could Revolutionize Surface Warfare," 8 Jan. 2019 One is struck by the intricacy and pinpoint precision of what must be endlessly rehearsed routines and, above all, the consistent level of coordination, teamwork, mutual dependence, and trust required to execute their duties. Don Aucoin,, "A Cirque du Soleil show that’s as interested in ‘Ahh’ as ‘Wow’," 29 June 2018 The Netherlands' second came when Xavi of all people lost possession and Blind clipped another pinpoint ball forward., "On This Day: 13th June - Louis van Gaal's Netherlands Humiliate World Cup Holders Spain in 2014," 13 June 2018 In the value of good, easy-to-watch basketball based on pinpoint passing, equal-opportunity shooting and defensive intelligence. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Loyola Chicago, team of 'winners' bound for Final Four, turns NCAA tournament fans into believers," 24 Mar. 2018 Earlier, defender Raphael Varane headed France into the lead after 40 minutes, converting a pinpoint Griezmann free kick. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Uruguay goalkeeper makes huge error to concede goal vs. France," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Ice pick acne scars are small, narrow, pinpoint acne scars that penetrate deep into the skin, according to Gross. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "How To Get Rid of Acne Scars—Forever," 21 Jan. 2019 In some cities, like Houston and Dallas, utilities have already undertaken to upgrade their systems with new, digital equipment, allowing repair crews to more precisely pinpoint damage during storms. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Energy lobbyists increase pressure on Congress to speed up permitting," 8 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Working together, the three satellites can triangulate and pinpoint the source of signals. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "How Small Satellites Will Help Police Earth's Vast Oceans," 4 Feb. 2019 Corrections is running a pilot project using a device that can pinpoint when and where someone is using a cellphone. John Monk, charlotteobserver, "More inmates killed. More assaults on guards. What’s happening in SC prisons?," 6 Jan. 2018 More research is needed before experts can pinpoint just how prevalent NPD really is. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder Before Calling Someone a Narcissist," 8 Nov. 2018 And when pinpointing a sale price, remember that there will obviously be a difference between an item that's two years old versus 10 years old, for instance. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "An Expert's Top Advice for Selling Furniture Online," 13 Sep. 2018 As for how to pinpoint this momentous monthly occurrence, begin by tracking the length of your menstrual cycle, as some women's cycles can be 26 days and others' 32 (though the average is 28), Dr. Rackow says. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "When Are You Most Fertile?," 18 Sep. 2018 Concerns about exercise trackers and other electronic devices came to a head in January in the wake of revelations that an interactive online map was pinpointing troop locations, bases and other sensitive areas around the world. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Pentagon restricts fitness trackers, mobile devices using GPS functions citing 'significant risk' to deployed forces," 6 Aug. 2018 In a 5-to-4 decision the justices ruled in favor of Timothy Carpenter, the robber who argued that using location data from his cellphone providers to pinpoint his whereabouts and convict him violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cell signal: What high court ruling may mean for future of digital privacy," 22 June 2018 Diversity is not a contest but an acknowledgement of reality, and Virgil included a map at every LV attendees’ seat that pinpoints where every one of his models—and their parents—came from. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "Our Favorite Moments from Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton Debut," 21 June 2018

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


1670, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pinpoint

Statistics for pinpoint

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pinpoint

The first known use of pinpoint was in 1670

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pinpoint



English Language Learners Definition of pinpoint

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a very small point or dot



English Language Learners Definition of pinpoint (Entry 2 of 3)

: very exact or precise



English Language Learners Definition of pinpoint (Entry 3 of 3)

: to find out (something) with certainty
: to find or locate the exact position of (something)


pin·​point | \ ˈpin-ˌpȯint How to pronounce pinpoint (audio) \
pinpointed; pinpointing

Kids Definition of pinpoint

: to locate or find out exactly Can you pinpoint the cause of the problem?

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pinpoint

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pinpoint

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pinpoint

Spanish Central: Translation of pinpoint

Nglish: Translation of pinpoint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pinpoint for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pinpoint

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


the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
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!