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thumb·​tack ˈthəm-ˌtak How to pronounce thumbtack (audio)
: a tack with a broad flat head for pressing into a surface with the thumb


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thumbtacked; thumbtacking; thumbtacks

transitive verb

: to fasten with a thumbtack

Examples of thumbtack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Step on a thumbtack, and your brain senses the pain within a fraction of a second. Douglas Fox, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2018 Take two sheets of paper, or a stiff notecard, and use a thumbtack to poke a smooth round hole in the middle. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, 8 Apr. 2024 Flip the paper over, and use a pin or thumbtack to poke a small hole in the foil. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, 8 Apr. 2024 Tape aluminum foil over that cut-out shape, then use a pin or thumbtack to poke a tiny hole in the foil. Denise Chow, NBC News, 4 Apr. 2024 The methyl group acts like a tiny thumbtack set out on the seat the antibiotic was hoping to take, Polikanov said. Corinne Purtill, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 To pin, run your cursor over the email in your inbox and click the thumbtack icon, which will bold when clicked. Danielle Abril, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023 Create a makeshift compass for curved lines or circular shapes by placing a thumbtack in the center and using a piece of string pulled taut to guide your pencil. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 July 2023 His father-in-law, Stanley (Tom Hanks, acting as if someone filled his shoes with thumbtacks), eventually jumps in his Cadillac and drives into the desert to join them as well. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 24 May 2023
Those early emails were about as private as thumbtacking a note to your addressee on the lab bulletin board. PCMAG, 25 June 2024 Listen to this article Americans are footing the bill for atrocities Boston: With a glossy Tiger Beat centerfold of Bibi Netanyahu thumbtacked above a cluster of L.L. Bean glamping bags, this unnamed D.C. townhouse is the bipartisan slumber-party pad of many an elite D.C. warmonger. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 25 Feb. 2024 Ocean posters and magazine articles featuring the Pisces were thumbtacked to plywood walls. Susan Casey, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Aug. 2023 At first, the small museum in its visitor’s center consisted mainly of informational printouts thumbtacked into display cases. Erin L. Thompson, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Apr. 2023 And in the end, there’s no writing-workshop epiphany, but rather that thrilling moment when the circles and arrows linking up the photographs thumbtacked to the squad-room wall form a previously unseen web of connection. Mark Binelli, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thumbtack.' 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


1884, in the meaning defined above


1914, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thumbtack was in 1884

Dictionary Entries Near thumbtack

Cite this Entry

“Thumbtack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a tack with a broad flat head for pressing into a board or wall with the thumb

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