any minute puncture made by a pin or the like.
a negligible irritation or annoyance.

Origin of pinprick

First recorded in 1745–55; pin + prick Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pinprick

Contemporary Examples of pinprick

Historical Examples of pinprick

  • Somehow he felt oddly reluctant to inflict even a pinprick of pain on this particular patient.


    Kathlyn Rhodes

  • And now thou art boasting aloud over this pinprick, which harms me not at all.

  • The cavalry horses and transport animals suffered from bursati, and even a pinprick expanded into a large open sore.

    The River War

    Winston S. Churchill

  • Used as he had become, the past two years, to pinpricks of this sort, his colour betrayed how much the present pinprick hurt him.

    The Brentons

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • Besides, to shoot a mere amateur in Chouannerie would be as absurd as to fire on a balloon when a pinprick would disinflate it.

    The Chouans

    Honore de Balzac

British Dictionary definitions for pinprick



a slight puncture made by or as if by a pin
a small irritation


(tr) to puncture with or as if with a pin
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 pinprick

also pin-prick, 1851, from pin (n.) + prick (n.). Used figuratively of petty irritations from 1885. Earlier pin's prick (1825).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper