[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for 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
  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for pin-ball


/ (ˈpɪnˌbɔːl) /


  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