thumb·​tack | \ ˈthəm-ˌtak How to pronounce thumbtack (audio) \

Definition of thumbtack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tack with a broad flat head for pressing into a surface with the thumb


thumbtacked; thumbtacking; thumbtacks

Definition of thumbtack (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to fasten with a thumbtack

Examples of thumbtack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are five main compartments for all your pens and pencils, but our favorite parts of this caddy are the two smaller compartments that are perfect for paper clips or thumbtacks. Popular Science, "Simplify your life with these shelf organizers for your desk," 5 Apr. 2020 Over the course of the film, Hunter ingests a number of items including a marble, a battery, a thumbtack and dirt. Anne Cohen,, "Haley Bennett’s Powerful Swallow Is Already Making People Faint," 6 Mar. 2020 What starts with her loudly chewing ice during dinner with her in-laws quickly devolves into her ingesting increasingly physically harmful objects: a marble, a thimble, a paperclip, a thumbtack, a battery, a nail. Anne Cohen,, "Haley Bennett’s Powerful Swallow Is Already Making People Faint," 6 Mar. 2020 Soon, it's joined by other items—a stickpin, a lock, a AA battery, a thumbtack—as Hunter undertakes a daring and increasingly dangerous mission of self-reconstitution. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch in theaters and stream at home this weekend," 6 Mar. 2020 Or should the women just bring their bloody sanitary napkins into an emergency room so the hospitals — who are pinned with responsibility in the language of the legislation — can fashion a thumbtack-sized coffin? Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "What every member of Congress should know about vaginas," 2 Nov. 2019 Among the items revealed Tuesday are the colored chalk and thumbtacks used by Hanssen, a former FBI agent, to pass information to his Soviet and Russian handlers, as well as the handcuffs used to arrest him. Olivia Gazis, CBS News, "Top U.S. counterintelligence official praises whistleblower protections as espionage threats intensify," 3 Oct. 2019 Passing, shooting, dribbling and defense are all mapped to both thumbtacks, the left and right triggers, and a few of the face buttons. Brittany Vincent, CNN Underscored, "NBA 2K20 offers some of the best virtual basketball you'll ever play," 10 Sep. 2019 In Benson's feature, the author notes Aplin's office has a map with a large array of thumbtacks going east to North Carolina and South all the way to Florida. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Here's What's Next for Buc-ee's," 2 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Is the Next Nobel Laureate in Literature Tending Bar in a Dusty Australian Town?," 27 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of thumbtack


1884, in the meaning defined above


1914, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thumbtack

Time Traveler for thumbtack

Time Traveler

The first known use of thumbtack was in 1884

See more words from the same year

Statistics for thumbtack

Cite this Entry

“Thumbtack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thumbtack


How to pronounce thumbtack (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thumbtack

US : a short pin that has a large, flat head and that is used to attach papers, pictures, etc., to a wall or bulletin board


thumb·​tack | \ ˈthəm-ˌtak How to pronounce thumbtack (audio) \

Kids Definition of thumbtack

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

More from Merriam-Webster on thumbtack

Nglish: Translation of thumbtack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thumbtack for Arabic Speakers

Comments on thumbtack

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!