or pinch·ers

[pin-serz or pin-cherz]

noun (usually used with a plural verb)

a gripping tool consisting of two pivoted limbs forming a pair of jaws and a pair of handles (usually used with pair of).
Zoology. a grasping organ or pair of organs resembling this, as the claw of a lobster.

Origin of pincers

1300–50; Middle English pinsers, earlier pynceours, plural of *pinceour < Anglo-French pince(r) to pinch + -our -or2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pincers

tongs, pliers, forceps

Examples from the Web for pincers

Historical Examples of pincers

  • Mr. Hartgold took up a diamond with a pair of pincers, and exhibited it to the banker.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • It looks as though someone had held the letter in a—a pair of pincers.

    The Film of Fear

    Arnold Fredericks

  • Others, they plucked off all the hair of their heads and beards with pincers.

  • As if I were being pounded with mallets and torn by pincers.

  • If the foreign body can be seen it should be grasped with a pincers and removed.

British Dictionary definitions for pincers


pl n

Also called: pair of pincers a gripping tool consisting of two hinged arms with handles at one end and, at the other, curved bevelled jaws that close on the workpiece: used esp for extracting nails
the pair or pairs of jointed grasping appendages in lobsters and certain other arthropods

Word Origin for pincers

C14: from Old French pinceour, from Old French pincier to pinch
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 pincers

early 14c., "tool for grasping or nipping," from Old French pinceure "pincers, tongs," from pincier "to pinch" (see pinch). Applied to animal parts from 1650s. Related: Pincer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pincers in Science



A jointed grasping claw of certain animals, such as lobsters and scorpions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.