get pinned,
    1. (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.
    2. (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.
    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.
    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

before 1100; (noun) Middle English pinne, Old English pinn “peg”; cognate with Dutch pin, German Pinne, Old Norse pinni; perhaps frrom Latin pinna “feather, quill” (see pinna); (verb) Middle English pinnen, derivative of the noun
Related formsre·pin, verb (used with object), re·pinned, re·pin·ning.

Synonyms for pin

1. bolt, peg. 3. brooch.



noun Computers.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for pin

Contemporary Examples of pin

Historical Examples of pin

  • He's too honest entirely to stale the value of a pin, let alone a carpetbag.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • After that she must pin it on, and slip in to stand before his mirror and inspect the result.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "'Twould be like hunting for a pin in a haystack," said the Rev. Hilary Jones.

  • A pin might have been heard falling among us, for this sounded ominous.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • He let the pestle fall from his hand and jumped as if he had been stuck with a pin.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for pin



  1. 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
  2. (in combination)pinhole
an ornamental brooch, esp a narrow one
a badge worn fastened to the clothing by a pin
something of little or no importance (esp in the phrases not care or give a pin (for))
a peg or dowel
anything resembling a pin in shape, function, etc
(in various bowling games) a usually club-shaped wooden object set up in groups as a target
Also called: cotter pin, safety pin a clip on a hand grenade that prevents its detonation until removed or released
  1. See belaying pin
  2. the axle of a sheave
  3. the sliding closure for a shackle
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
surgery a metal rod, esp of stainless steel, for holding together adjacent ends of fractured bones during healing
chess a position in which a piece is pinned against a more valuable piece or the king
golf the flagpole marking the hole on a green
  1. the cylindrical part of a key that enters a lock
  2. the cylindrical part of a lock where this part of the key fits
wrestling a position in which a person is held tight or immobile, esp with both shoulders touching the ground
a dovetail tenon used to make a dovetail joint
(in Britain) a miniature beer cask containing 4 1/2 gallons
(usually plural) informal a leg
be put to the pin on one's collar Irish to be forced to make an extreme effort

verb pins, pinning or pinned (tr)

to attach, hold, or fasten with or as if with a pin or pins
to transfix with a pin, spear, etc
(foll by on) informal to place (the blame for something)he pinned the charge on his accomplice
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
Also: underpin to support (masonry), as by driving in wedges over a beam
See also pin down

Word Origin for pin

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


n acronym for

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

Word Origin and History for pin

late Old English pinn "peg, bolt," from Proto-Germanic *penn- "jutting point or peak" (cf. Old Saxon pin "peg," Old Norse pinni "peg, tack," Middle Dutch pin "pin, peg," Old High German pfinn, German Pinne "pin, tack") from Latin pinna "a feather, plume;" in plural "a wing;" also "fin, scoop of a water wheel;" also "a pinnacle; a promontory, cape; battlement" (e.g. in Luke iv:9 in Vulgate) and so applied to "points" of various sorts, from PIE *pet- (see pen (n.1)).

Latin pinna and penna "a feather, plume," in plural "a wing," are treated as identical in Watkins, etc., but regarded as separate (but confused) Latin words by Tucker and others, who derive pinna from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (cf. spike (n.1)) and see the "feather/wing" sense as secondary.

The modern slender wire pin is first attested by this name late 14c. Transferred sense of "leg" is recorded from 1520s and hold the older sense. Pin-money "annual sum allotted to a woman for personal expenses on dress, etc." is attested from 1620s. Pins and needles "tingling sensation" is from 1810. The sound of a pin dropping as a type of something all but silent is from 1775.


acronym for personal identification number, 1981, from the first reference used with redundant number.


mid-14c., "to affix with a pin," from pin (n.). Figurative use from 1570s. Related: Pinned; pinning. Sense of "to hold someone or something down so he or it cannot escape" is attested from 1740. In U.S., as a reference to the bestowal of a fraternity pin on a female student as an indication of a relationship, it is attested by 1938. Phrase pin down "define" is from 1951.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for pin




A thin rod for securing the ends of fractured bones.
A peg for fixing the crown to the root of a tooth.


To fasten or secure with a pin or pins.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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.