- 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.
- an axle for a sheave of a block.
- belaying pin.
verb (used with object), pinned, pin·ning.
- 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.
- 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.
- pimple copper,
- pin back one's ears,
- pin boy,
- pin cherry,
- pin clover,
- pin curl
- (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.
Origin of pin
verb (tr, adverb)
n acronym for
- 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
- See belaying pin
- the axle of a sheave
- the sliding closure for a shackle
- the cylindrical part of a key that enters a lock
- the cylindrical part of a lock where this part of the key fits
verb pins, pinning or pinned (tr)
Word Origin 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.
Fix or establish clearly, as in The firefighters finally were able to pin down the source of the odor. [Mid-1900s]
Force someone to give precise information or opinions, as in The reporter pinned down the governor on the issue of conservation measures. [c. 1700]
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
- hear a pin drop
- on pins and needles