Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[pin-bawl] /ˈpɪnˌbɔl/
any of various games played on a sloping, glass-topped table presenting a field of colorful, knoblike target pins and rails, the object usually being to shoot a ball, driven by a spring, up a side passage and cause it to roll back down against these projections and through channels, which electrically flash or ring and record the score.
Origin of pinball
An Americanism dating back to 1880-85; pin + ball1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pin-ball
Historical Examples
  • He read a newspaper and fed a dollar and a half into a pin-ball machine.

    Ghost Beyond the Gate Mildred A. Wirt
  • It was as natural for her to want to flirt with every man she saw, as for a kitten to scamper after a pin-ball.

    The Pearl of Orr's Island Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The little lady watches every motion as comically as a kitten watches a pin-ball.

  • Aunt Louise made a nice little dressing-case of bronze kid, lined with silk, and Grace made a pretty pen-wiper and pin-ball.

    Captain Horace Sophie May
British Dictionary definitions for pin-ball


  1. a game in which the player shoots a small ball through several hazards on a table, electrically operated machine, etc
  2. (as modifier): a pinball machine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pin-ball

as a type of game, 1907, from pin (n.) + ball (n.1). Originally of types of open-air bowling and basketball variation where the goal was to knock down a pin or pins. Earlier still it meant "pin-cushion." The tabletop pin-ball machine is attested from 1937.



also pin-ball, game played on a sloping surface, 1911, from pin (n.) + ball (n.1). Earlier it meant "a pincushion" (1803).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for pin-ball



To move about erratically: Robin Williams' comedy routines pinball from one manic impression to another

[1980s+; fr the game of pinball, found by 1911, in which a spring-propelled ball bounces about among obstacles]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for pin-ball

Word Value for pin

Scrabble Words With Friends