pin·​point | \ˈpin-ˌpȯint \

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

This could take the form of capsules fixed with flight control surfaces for precision glides or steerable parachutes for more pinpoint landings. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Actually Considering Rocket Launches to Move Cargo Around the Globe," 29 Oct. 2018 Pogba both started and finished the move that led to France’s third goal, setting Mbappé free down the right with a pinpoint cross field pass from deep in his own half. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Paul Pogba: The Player Who Embodies France’s World Cup Evolution," 16 July 2018 The new craft would maneuver in atmosphere to make a pinpoint landing from space. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Actually Considering Rocket Launches to Move Cargo Around the Globe," 29 Oct. 2018 Goff picked apart the Vikings' secondary in the first half with one pinpoint throw after another. Greg Beacham, Fox News, "Rams top Vikings, 38-31, as Goff throws for 465 yards, 5 TDs," 28 Sep. 2018 The first came off a gorgeous transition (combined with a Jan Vertonghen misplay) that ended with Genki Haragushi appearing to wait too long before lashing a pinpoint strike for 1-0. Grant Wahl,, "Belgium Stages Thrilling Comeback on Japan in Best Half of 2018 World Cup," 2 July 2018 There’s an unmistakable pleasure in seeing Grey go in for the kill, and not just because of his pinpoint-precise martial-arts moves and creative use of kitchen crockery. Justin Chang,, "'Upgrade' is a sleek, strikingly designed A.I. vigilante thriller," 31 May 2018 McCullers induced 20 swings and misses, spinning his superb curveball with pinpoint precision. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Lance McCullers thwarts his hometown Rays in Astros' shutout win," 28 June 2018 For surveyors relying on pinpoint precision, isostatic rebound is a complication. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Great Lakes still impacted by Ice Age phenomenon," 2 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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

The inefficient, aging building needed air conditioning units in the summer and heaters in the winter, and due to its location in an historic district, pinpoint accuracy in its retrofits to meet existing building codes. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can a remodeled 1920s home revolutionize green building?," 3 Dec. 2018 Trump has already pinpointed scapegoats for the stock market’s recent troubles. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Now that the stock market is down, Trump wants to take credit for oil prices," 27 Nov. 2018 Using these analyses to pinpoint potential outbreak hot spots allows health care organizations and governments to direct resources to that area. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 Experts have pinpointed certain risk factors that increase your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Korin Miller, SELF, "10 Facts About Alzheimer's Disease You Should Know," 28 Sep. 2018 On sale now While the exact number is difficult to pinpoint, the manufacturers mentioned have sold approximately 500 GT3 race cars worldwide since 2013. Eric Tegler, Ars Technica, "More exclusive than a supercar: A beginner’s guide to buying a GT3 race car," 19 Oct. 2018 To prevent the next pandemic, pinpoint it at the source. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "A Never-Before-Seen Virus Has Been Detected in Myanmar’s Bats," 11 July 2018 In addition, the estimates can't pinpoint where these additional people aged 25-44 live. Sam Rosenstiel And Mark Wert,, "Hamilton County's getting 'younger' as it draws more millennials," 21 June 2018 Carlisle pinpointed eight papers at his own journal, Anaesthesia, worth probing. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Following charges of flawed statistics, major medical journal sets the record straight," 13 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

4 Dec 2018

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 \
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).


amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!