[ thuhm-tak ]
/ ˈθʌmˌtæk /


a tack with a large, flat head, designed to be thrust into a board or other fairly soft object or surface by the pressure of the thumb.

verb (used with object)

to attach or tack by means of a thumbtack.

Nearby words

  1. thumbs up,
  2. thumbs-down,
  3. thumbs-up,
  4. thumbscrew,
  5. thumbstall,
  6. thummim,
  7. thump,
  8. thumping,
  9. thun,
  10. thunbergia

Origin of thumbtack

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; thumb + tack1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thumbtack

British Dictionary definitions for thumbtack


/ (ˈθʌmˌtæk) /


mainly US and Canadian a short tack with a broad smooth head for fastening papers to a drawing board, etcAlso called (esp in Britain): drawing 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 thumbtack



tack with a broad, flat head which may be driven by pressure from the thumb, 1884, from thumb (n.) + tack (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper