[ pin ]
See synonyms for pin on
  1. a small, slender, often pointed piece of wood, metal, etc., used to fasten, support, or attach things.

  2. a short, slender piece of wire with a point at one end and a head at the other, for fastening things together.

  1. any of various forms of fasteners or ornaments consisting essentially or partly of a pointed or penetrating wire or shaft (often used in combination): a jeweled pin.

  2. a badge having a pointed bar or pin attached, by which it is fastened to the clothing: a fraternity pin.

  3. Digital Technology. a photo or link that is bookmarked on Pinterest, a website and mobile application: She added 5 pins to her recipes board.

  4. Machinery.

    • a short metal rod, as a linchpin, driven through holes in adjacent parts, as a hub and an axle, to keep the parts together.

    • a short cylindrical rod or tube, as a wrist pin or crankpin, joining two parts so as to permit them to move in one plane relative to each other.

    • a short axle, as one on which a pulley rotates in a block.

  5. the part of a cylindrical key stem entering a lock.

  6. a clothespin.

  7. a hairpin.

  8. a peg, nail, or stud marking the center of a target.

  9. Bowling. any one of the rounded wooden clubs set up as the target in tenpins, ninepins, duckpins, etc.

  10. Golf. the flag staff which identifies a hole.

  11. any of the projecting knobs or rails on a pinball machine that serve as targets for the ball.

  12. Informal. a human leg.

  13. Music. peg (def. 5).

  14. Wrestling. a fall.

  15. Nautical.

  16. Carpentry. a tenon in a dovetail joint; dovetail.

  17. a very small amount; a trifle: Such insincere advice isn't worth a pin.

  18. Chess. the immobilization of an enemy piece by attacking with one's queen, rook, or bishop.

  19. Electronics. a pin-shaped connection, as the terminals on the base of an electron tube or the connections on an integrated circuit.

verb (used with object),pinned, pin·ning.
  1. to fasten or attach with or as with a pin or pins: to pin two pieces of cloth together.

  2. to hold fast in a spot or position (sometimes followed by down): The debris pinned him down.

  1. to transfix or mount with a pin or the like: to pin a flower as a botanical specimen.

  2. Chess. to immobilize (an enemy piece) by placing one's queen, rook, or bishop in a position to check the exposed king or capture a valuable piece if the pinned piece were moved.

  3. Wrestling. to secure a fall over one's opponent.

  4. Digital Technology.

    • to bookmark (a photo or link) on Pinterest, a website and mobile application: He pinned a jacket from Macy's on his fashion board.

    • to fix (a social media post) to the top of a feed: She pinned a tweet about her forthcoming book to the top of her Twitter feed.

verb (used without object),pinned, pin·ning.
  1. Digital Technology. to bookmark a photo or link on Pinterest: I've been pinning a lot lately.

Verb Phrases
  1. pin down,

    • to bind or hold to a course of action, a promise, etc.

    • to force (someone) to deal with a situation or to come to a decision: We tried to pin him down for a definite answer, but he was too evasive for us.

  2. pin in, to fill (gaps in a rubble wall, etc.) with spalls.

  1. pin up, to make (a piece of masonry) level or plumb with wedges.

Idioms about pin

  1. get pinned,

    • (of a young woman) to receive a male student's fraternity pin as a symbol of his affection and fidelity, usually symbolizing that the couple is going steady or plans to become engaged.

    • (of a young couple) to become formally pledged to one another, though not yet engaged, by the bestowing of such a pin or the exchange of pins.

  2. pin something on someone, Informal. to ascribe the blame or guilt for something to a person; show someone to be culpable: They pinned the crime on him.

  1. pull the pin, Informal. to end a relationship, project, program, or the like, because of lack of continuing interest, success, funds, etc.

Origin of pin

First recorded before 1100; Middle English noun pinne, Old English pinn “peg”; cognate with Dutch pin, German Pinne, Old Norse pinni; perhaps frrom Latin pinna “feather, quill” (see pinna); verb from the noun

Other words for pin

Other words from pin

  • re·pin, verb (used with object), re·pinned, re·pin·ning.

Words Nearby pin

Other definitions for PIN (2 of 2)

[ pin ]

  1. a number assigned to an individual, used to establish identity in order to gain access to a computer system via an automatic teller machine, a point-of-sale terminal, or other device.

Origin of PIN

p(ersonal)i(dentification)n(umber) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pin in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pin (1 of 3)


/ (pɪn) /

    • a short stiff straight piece of wire pointed at one end and either rounded or having a flattened head at the other: used mainly for fastening pieces of cloth, paper, etc, esp temporarily

    • (in combination): pinhole

  1. an ornamental brooch, esp a narrow one

  2. a badge worn fastened to the clothing by a pin

  3. something of little or no importance (esp in the phrases not care or give a pin (for))

  4. a peg or dowel

  5. anything resembling a pin in shape, function, etc

  6. (in various bowling games) a usually club-shaped wooden object set up in groups as a target

  7. Also called: cotter pin, safety pin a clip on a hand grenade that prevents its detonation until removed or released

  8. nautical

    • the axle of a sheave

    • the sliding closure for a shackle

  9. music a metal tuning peg on a piano, the end of which is inserted into a detachable key by means of which it is turned

  10. surgery a metal rod, esp of stainless steel, for holding together adjacent ends of fractured bones during healing

  11. chess a position in which a piece is pinned against a more valuable piece or the king

  12. golf the flagpole marking the hole on a green

    • the cylindrical part of a key that enters a lock

    • the cylindrical part of a lock where this part of the key fits

  13. wrestling a position in which a person is held tight or immobile, esp with both shoulders touching the ground

  14. a dovetail tenon used to make a dovetail joint

  15. (in Britain) a miniature beer cask containing 4 1/2 gallons

  16. (usually plural) informal a leg

  17. be put to the pin on one's collar Irish to be forced to make an extreme effort

verbpins, pinning or pinned (tr)
  1. to attach, hold, or fasten with or as if with a pin or pins

  2. to transfix with a pin, spear, etc

  1. (foll by on) informal to place (the blame for something): he pinned the charge on his accomplice

  2. chess to cause (an enemy piece) to be effectively immobilized by attacking it with a queen, rook, or bishop so that moving it would reveal a check or expose a more valuable piece to capture

  3. Also: underpin to support (masonry), as by driving in wedges over a beam

Origin of pin

Old English pinn; related to Old High German pfinn, Old Norse pinni nail

British Dictionary definitions for p-i-n (2 of 3)


abbreviation for
  1. p-type, intrinsic, n-type: a form of construction of semiconductor devices

British Dictionary definitions for PIN (3 of 3)


/ (pɪn) /

n acronym for
  1. personal identification number: a number used by a holder of a cash card or credit card used in EFTPOS

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pin


In addition to the idioms beginning with pin

  • pin back one's ears
  • pin down
  • pin money
  • pin on
  • pin one's heart on
  • pin one's hopes on
  • pin someone's ears back

also see:

  • hear a pin drop
  • on pins and needles

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.