a slender U-shaped piece of wire, shell, etc., used by women to fasten up the hair or hold a headdress.


(of a road, curve in a road, etc.) sharply curved back, as in a U shape: a hairpin turn.

Origin of hairpin

First recorded in 1770–80; hair + pin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hairpin

clasp, fastener, pin, barrette

Examples from the Web for hairpin

Contemporary Examples of hairpin

Historical Examples of hairpin

  • "You're losing a hairpin on the left side of your head," was all I said.

    The La Chance Mine Mystery

    Susan Carleton Jones

  • A hairpin will not remove it; therefore let us call it immovable.

  • I believe I can pick it off little by little with a hairpin or a pair of scissors or something.

    The Dude Wrangler

    Caroline Lockhart

  • And you picked the lock with a hairpin, and came here all alone to flirt with my Jack!

    Oh! Susannah!

    Mark Ambient

  • She tried to pierce my eyes with that hairpin that you saw just now.

British Dictionary definitions for hairpin



a thin double-pronged pin used by women to fasten the hair
(modifier) (esp of a bend in a road) curving very sharply
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

Word Origin and History for hairpin

also hair-pin, 1788 (two words), from hair + pin (n.). A hairpin turn, etc., is from 1906. Hairpin (or clothespin) was American English slang for "person" c.1880-1910, especially in the expression "That's the kind of hairpin I am."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper