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pin·​prick ˈpin-ˌprik How to pronounce pinprick (audio)
: a small puncture made by or as if by a pin
: a petty irritation or annoyance


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pinpricked; pinpricking; pinpricks

transitive verb

: to administer pinpricks to

intransitive verb

: to administer pinpricks

Example Sentences

Noun He felt a pinprick in his leg. the nurse kindly put a decorated bandage over the pinprick from the injection
Recent Examples on the Web
Nothing was over-styled: when there were furry orange wedges, they were shown with a simple double-breasted black suit, neat and efficient as a pinprick. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Feb. 2022 These are the nerve cells that respond to painful stimuli like a pinch, a pinprick, a hot stove or a chemical irritant such as a chili pepper. Karen Weintraub, USA Today, 11 Dec. 2022 Corio, an amazing discovery, somehow conveys these and countless other pinprick impressions without putting any of them into words. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct. 2022 How horrific, to be remembered only for one’s darkest moments, not a pinprick of hope cast over your corpse. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 29 Sep. 2022 But these are a pinprick compared to what the Taliban experienced just prior to taking over the country on August 15th, 2021. CBS News, 24 Aug. 2022 By the 1970s, states had established newborn screening programs, in which a nurse takes a few drops of blood from a pinprick on a baby’s heel, then sends the sample to a lab to test for certain diseases. Wired, 17 Aug. 2022 Craigie focuses on the filament, creating latticework songs with precise details that strike the listener like a pinprick. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 1 June 2022 Set among 700,000 acres of land on the red flanks of the Cockburn Ranges, El Questro Homestead is a pinprick of green, an improbable clifftop retreat for 20 guests perched on the edge of the Chamberlain River. Anabel Dean, CNN, 18 May 2022
At this height, the real thing looks fake, a composite of toy skyscrapers, tinfoil rivers, pinprick traffic lights, Central Park the size of a welcome mat, and some sort of nature in the hazy distance. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 21 Oct. 2021 The teeny pinpricks force the skin to heal and build up stronger than before, while the device also deposits serum deeper into the skin. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, 9 Nov. 2018 Device testing was conducted at a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, where pinprick blood samples were examined for antibodies to measles and rubella. Helen Branswell, STAT, 25 Apr. 2018 Distorting drops of water pinpricked my face in the basin’s mirror. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2017 Bonobo played an aquatically chill set of slow-moving dance music, followed by Four Tet, who kept his tempo but shifted to pinprick-precise, bucolic house. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 16 May 2016 Distorting drops of water pinpricked my face in the basin’s mirror. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pinprick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use


1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1871, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of pinprick was in 1755

Dictionary Entries Near pinprick

Cite this Entry

“Pinprick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a small puncture made by or as if by a pin
also : a small but unpleasant sensation
the steady pinprick of a guilty conscience
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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