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

Satellite photos released by the Trump administration show at least 17 impacts at two major Saudi oil installations -- with what officials say was pinpoint accuracy -- slashing Saudi Arabia's oil output by half. Fox News, "Saudi Arabia oil facility attack launched from Iranian soil, US officials say," 16 Sep. 2019 The craft throttled its engine and maneuvered eastward, taking a parabolic path to a pinpoint landing on a nearby ground pad. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "SpaceX's Starhopper prototype soars in 150-meter 'hop test'," 28 Aug. 2019 The Magic need a pinpoint shooter in the backcourt, and Johnson has those tools. Gary Washburn,, "Gary Washburn’s mock NBA Draft," 19 June 2019 After another brief rocket firing to slow down for re-entry, the stage homed in on Landing Zone 4 at the Air Force base, restarting a single engine and settling to a pinpoint touchdown just a few hundred feet from the launch pad. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX launches 3 satellites to monitor Canadian territory, impact of climate change," 12 June 2019 Jones completed all five off his passes and finished with a pinpoint 12-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Bennie Fowler., "Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants in NFL preseason: Time, score, TV channel, how to watch live stream online," 16 Aug. 2019 Iran is likely to continue its project of hollowing out Syria, and Israel appears likely to continue its pinpoint strikes against the outlying hardware of that project, without touching its core. Jonathan Spyer, WSJ, "Getting Iran Out of Syria Is No Easy Task," 9 July 2019 Dragonfly takes after its namesake—an agile flying insect that can soar, hover and perform pinpoint touchdowns. Shannon Stirone, Scientific American, "New NASA Mission Will Fly Titan’s Frigid Skies to Search for Life’s Beginnings," 27 June 2019 Simona Halep served with pinpoint accuracy, chased down every ball and played the match of her life to beat Serena Williams and win the Wimbledon title. Jon Wertheim,, "Simona Halep Plays Match of Her Life, Beats Serena Williams to Win Wimbledon," 13 July 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

This week’s opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, will have ample time to dissect Sunday’s performance in an attempt to pinpoint Rudolph’s weaknesses while also trying to exploit his lack of experience. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Steelers' Mike Tomlin faces ultimate test after Ben Roethlisberger's injury," 16 Sep. 2019 Ring claims not to share lists of users or give maps pinpointing exact locations of cameras to police. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Senator pushes Amazon for details about Ring “partnerships” with police," 5 Sep. 2019 Over the past decade, scientists have pinpointed several genes and candidate genes underlying those adaptations. Xing Liu, Science Magazine, "At 5100 meters elevation, a Peruvian gold mining town is the world’s highest settlement—and a good place to study how life at extremely low oxygen levels ravages the body.," 12 Sep. 2019 So to home in on something is to pinpoint it as your target and head straight for it. June Casagrande, Burbank Leader, "A Word, Please: Grammar blunders that have crept into regular English usage," 15 Aug. 2019 With the expansion of the program, the department envisions a second launch site, which police hope the consultant will help pinpoint. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chula Vista eyes expansion of drone program," 6 Aug. 2019 To pinpoint the exact location, Lin performed two extensive surgical evaluations to map her brain. Daily Pilot, "A young woman can now live long and prosper, after brain surgery cures her of seizures," 16 July 2019 First, try to pinpoint where your cravings are coming from. Molly Kimball,, "Ever feel addicted to food? You’re not alone: Best of Molly Kimball," 25 June 2019 Police urge anyone who experiences or witnesses an overdose to turn in any remaining drugs and packaging, to help pinpoint the source and warn other drug users of the bad product. Rebecca Lurye,, "With two more fatal overdoses last week, Hartford close to surpassing its 2018 drug death total," 19 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

9 Oct 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

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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