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

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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, ID, 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

Her current perspective, though, can occasionally narrow to a pinpoint. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "In ‘Flash Count Diary,’ Darcey Steinke Documents the Enigma, the Rage and the Power of Menopause," 26 June 2019 Next up was a tap-in from a pinpoint Andrew Robertson cross, followed by another jinking run that ended with a cute finish slipping into the corner., "Mohamed Salah: His 6 Best Liverpool Moments Since Arriving Two Years Ago," 22 June 2019 His heavy square eyeglasses, pushed back on his forehead, doubled the lamp’s glowing filament in miniature, like two magnifying glasses collapsing the sun to start pinpoints of fire. Jill Ciment, Harper's magazine, "Then Again," 10 June 2019 Examples are hypersonic missiles, which combine velocity—travelling at five times the speed of sound—with pinpoint accuracy. The Economist, "The UTC-Raytheon deal highlights the changing nature of war," 14 June 2019 In his view, mirror neurons deserve to be thoroughly investigated, but the pinpoint focus on their roles in speech and action understanding has hindered research progress. Quanta Magazine, "How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception and Meaning," 25 Mar. 2019 His pinpoint passing would be a best-case vehicle for setting up Houston's three-point specialists, and his own shooting would help keep the lane clear for Harden and Paul. Rob Mahoney,, "The LeBron James Experiment: Considering NBA Free Agency Scenarios for The King," 27 June 2018 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

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

The exact timing is tough to pinpoint, even varying within households depending on age and who earned more. CBS News, "Almost all Americans take Social Security at the wrong time, study says," 28 June 2019 The exact timing is tough to pinpoint, even varying within households depending on age and who earned more. Sarah Skidmore Sell,, "Study: Retirees lose by taking Social Security at wrong time," 28 June 2019 As is the case in most cities, pinpointing the number of homeless people in South Bend is difficult. Charles Bethea, The New Yorker, "What Pete Buttigieg Has and Hasn’t Done About Homelessness in South Bend," 24 June 2019 Officials pinpoint the possible grows using white dots. Shomik Mukherjee, The Mercury News, "Humboldt County threatened cannabis fines. They were growing peaches and tomatoes.," 23 June 2019 The findings pinpoint vital changes that are needed to ensure past misbehaviors, mistakes and inaction are not repeated at this university. Kathleen Megan,, "Central Connecticut professors depart university after sexual misconduct investigations," 20 June 2019 But until this year, most researchers have focused on individual mountains or specific regions and as a result have not pinpointed the overall cause of the melting. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "Cold War Spy Photos Show How Fast Himalaya Glaciers Are Melting," 19 June 2019 The biggest reason — a cavalcade of injuries — wasn’t difficult to pinpoint. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors’ season over: Klay Thompson tears ACL in Game 6 loss to Raptors," 14 June 2019 At the northern site of Xuenkal, Mexico, Vera Tiesler and colleagues used strontium isotopes to pinpoint the geographic origin of a warrior and his trophy skull. Gabriel D. Wrobel, The Conversation, "Trophies made from human skulls hint at regional conflicts around the time of Maya civilization’s mysterious collapse," 10 June 2019

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

3 Jul 2019

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 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?

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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

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