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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

Examples of pinprick in a Sentence

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
There’s something peculiar about traveling solo in this way—the chance encounters, the help from strangers—fellow travelers that connect a journey like pinpricks of light in a constellation. Emily Zebel, Longreads, 23 May 2024 Theranos, founded in 2003 when Holmes was 19, had once promised to revolutionize the world of blood testing by reducing sample sizes from a full draw to a single pinprick. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 7 May 2024 The blast created a mini-sandstorm that pelted the gallery of patrons like a million pinpricks. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2024 An unexplained pinprick mark What investigators found particularly suspicious was a pinprick mark on Maria Muñoz's right elbow crease, the type someone would get after getting an IV. Webb County District Attorney's Office What Pellot couldn't explain was a red mark on Muñoz's right elbow crease. Annabelle Allen, CBS News, 16 Dec. 2023 There are handfuls of these little collaborative bits of business between the director and his star-producer, small pinpricks of exhilaration that pop up in Shirley that are just enough to distinguish it from the usual true-story re-creations of trials, tragedies, and triumphs. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 22 Mar. 2024 Now, nearly half a millennium after Galileo marveled at the myriad pinpricks of light—moons, planets, and stars—in Earth’s skies, his successors are getting acquainted with the brightest tip of the iceberg of darker objects adrift between them. Charlie Wood, WIRED, 31 Dec. 2023 Attacks on Russian infrastructure are pinpricks given Russia’s size and resources. TIME, 24 Feb. 2024 It’s all documented on small pieces of paper that pile up back at Save the Rhino Trust headquarters in the pinprick of a town, Palmwag. Melanie Stetson Freeman, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Jan. 2024
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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pinprick.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 14 Jun. 2024.

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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