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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for pinpoint

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Synonyms: Verb

distinguish, finger, identify, single (out)

Antonyms: Adjective

coarse, imprecise, inaccurate, inexact, rough

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Viola, your old rocket is now a modern precision weapon capable of hitting a target illuminated by a laser spot with pinpoint precision from three miles away. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "A-10 Warthogs Now Carry Laser-Guided Rockets," 15 June 2016 After one-touch passes, midfielder Corben Bone distributed the ball wide for left back Blake Smith, who played a pinpoint cross to forward Danni Konig, who headed his team into the lead after 16 minutes. Charlie Hatch,, "FC Cincinnati beats Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 at Nippert, grows USL Eastern Conference lead," 30 June 2018 That may seem like a lot, but these were pinpoint hits, and actually an exercise in restraint. William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, "An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS," 21 June 2018 Fatigue and muscle cramps wore down the Dover-Sherborn standout, as Pathi’s pinpoint accuracy ran him from boundary to boundary on a hot afternoon. Nate Weitzer,, "At Dover-Sherborn, a tennis perfectionist leads the way," 8 June 2018 The arm is plenty strong without as much need for the pinpoint accuracy required in the infield. Jeff Sanders,, "Padres' Franchy Cordero proving difficult to keep down," 7 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 results would not pinpoint who used the opioids but identify areas with high concentration of users. Terace Garnier, Fox News, "NC town battles opioid epidemic by using robots to test people’s poop," 12 July 2018 Seersholm pinpointed 110 near-perfect matches to known species, as the group reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Ancient seafarers may have hunted whales around the world," 10 July 2018 But their symptoms — foaming at the mouth, pinpoint pupils and hallucinations — were similar to those that had emerged with the three previous victims: the Skripals, and a detective who was exposed while responding to the crime. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "Dawn Sturgess, British Woman Poisoned by Novichok, Dies," 8 July 2018 Building on an existing body of research on music and childhood development, the authors pinpoint a specific way that piano lessons can help young children enhance their language processing skills. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Why You Should Enroll Your Kids in Piano Lessons, According to Science," 1 July 2018 Starter Dallas Keuchel pinpointed a sinker on the inside edge of the zone to the first batter of the game, Blue Jays left fielder Randal Grichuk. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Alex Bregman delivers another walkoff win for Astros," 27 June 2018 When asked, a SeaWorld executive didn’t pinpoint any significant construction problems that might have slowed down the project other than the natural challenges of building something new within the park’s existing blueprint. Gabrielle Russon,, "SeaWorld: Summer clock ticking but still no Infinity Falls open date," 20 June 2018 Derek Zook said pinpointing a reason for the drop is difficult as several factors could come into play. Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, "Naperville ranks 9th in Illinois for DUI arrests last year; first time in 17 years city is not in top 5," 29 June 2018 Even if rescuers had managed to pinpoint the boys’ location, drilling would have presented a new set of obstacles. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "What Lies Beneath? Vague Mapping Complicates Thai Cave Rescue," 8 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for pinpoint

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pinpoint

The first known use of pinpoint was in 1670

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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?

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