One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A metal pin used to fasten two parts of a mechanism together.
- ‘The investigation revealed maintainers had left out a cotter pin on the main-landing-gear-door strut.’
- ‘If it's not in stock, even a simple cotter pin can take weeks to get.’
- ‘So I stood there in three feet of icy water, barking my knuckles bloody using a closed pocketknife to pry back the ears of the cotter pin so I could remove the prop nut, prop, and get to the broken shear pin.’
- ‘The diagonal cutting pliers are designed for cutting wire and cotter pins close to a flat surface and are especially useful in the electronic and electrical fields.’
- ‘Heavy-duty cotter pins are long cylinder shaped pins with locking action provided by a ring mounted on the head of the pin.’
- ‘Crewmembers tend to use whichever bolts, pins, washers, or cotter pins they find in their spare-bolt bins to hold together this portion of the plow.’
- ‘Use cotter pins through the axle on both sides and washers on either side of each wheel to keep the wheels from running off when you turn corners.’
- ‘A cotter pin acts a safety measure to prevent the arm from sliding off the stub.’
- ‘The cotter pin missed the male spline on the flap motor.’
- ‘She slid the cotter pin back through the nut and bolt and screwed the grease cap back on.’
- ‘Following manufacturers' instructions, check the wheel bearings for condition and wear and, if needed, repack with new seals and cotter pins.’
- ‘At this point the wire should look like a cotter pin.’
- ‘I tried to use the mower as I'd done the previous week, but this time I snapped a cotter pin, and had to find another one to hold the handle in place.’
- ‘Both corded and cordless benders, cotters, and combination benders/cutters are now light enough to carry around all day.’
- ‘A removable cotter pin holds the plate securely in either mode.’
- ‘Lastly, multiple foreign objects were found throughout the wing: line caps, castellated nuts, washers, and cotter pins.’
- ‘Once in a while some suburban dad would walk in with a cotter pin and say ‘I need three more of these, ‘and I'd go in the back and hunt around for them.’
- ‘Simpler ox bow keys were made either like rather crude keys with a flat bit or somewhat like oversized cotter pins.’
- ‘He noticed a nut and cotter pin were missing from the shroud-roller bearing assembly.’
- ‘‘A little pain and deprivation adds piquancy,’ he said, placing the last of the poles and threading its cotter pin home with a snap.’
- 1.1 A split pin that is opened out after being passed through a hole.
Mid 17th century: of unknown origin.
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