Main definitions of pin in English

: pin1PIN2



  • 1A thin piece of metal with a sharp point at one end and a round head at the other, used for fastening pieces of cloth, paper, etc.

    • ‘To adjust the fit, stick the tapes on the underneath side to the front of the nappy or use grips or pins to fasten a cloth nappy.’
    • ‘Documents are copied with carbon paper and then held together by straight pins.’
    • ‘She said today's nappies were a far cry from the terry towelling nappies boiling on a stove and the need to juggle metal pins.’
    • ‘The pushpin color photograms are created by placing the pins directly into the photographic paper surface in the color darkroom.’
    • ‘Make sure there are places your dog can get stuck in or fall from and there is no sharp objects like nails or pins laying around.’
    • ‘The metal in the pin and screws was the finest space-age steel alloy.’
    • ‘Wig pins are small and usually have a sharp point at one end to help the pins penetrate the wig piece.’
    • ‘The Major applied the last of the bandage cloth and used a pin to keep it in place.’
    • ‘Use a pin to push the paper bits gently back into place so they're hidden by the stitches.’
    • ‘I have made the universe out of paper and pencil and pins.’
    • ‘Insert map pins, metal tacks, and pushpins with plastic heads to create dots, stripes, and hearts.’
    • ‘At the age of 14 he became interested in curves he could draw using a pen held by thread looped round pins.’
    • ‘One of them cleverly decorates a vase by drawing plant leaves using a sharp pin, while another shapes small frog-like figures to be put on ashtrays.’
    • ‘She had already filed down one end of the pin to have a sharp point and thin width; it had never hurt to be prepared before.’
    • ‘I sure hope whoever put that diaper on fastened the pin tight.’
    • ‘Victor carefully threads the sharp pin through Laurie's sweater.’
    • ‘To save time replacing the pins, I taped little colored pieces of paper on the floor where the pins went.’
    • ‘But he's also hoping a wall piece covered by pins from every city he crossed will fetch a fair sum.’
    • ‘The works are fashioned from paper and use ink, glitter and pins and are incredibly delicate, erotic and dense.’
    • ‘Although the plastic pinned poppies are less dangerous, they often require metal pins to keep them in place.’
    tack, safety pin, nail, staple, skewer, spike, brad, fastener
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A small brooch or badge.
      ‘a gold and diamond lapel pin’
      • ‘Bronze brooches and pins, dress fasteners, silver rings, knives, beads of amber and glass and even some objects that seem to be made of ivory appear as the shallow graves were excavated.’
      • ‘Rings, bangles, ear-rings, and nose pins are among the Vivah collection.’
      • ‘Van Dyke chuckles and asks if we might like to take some lapel pins home with us.’
      • ‘There are angel bookends, guardian angel lapel pins and ceramic candle-holder angels.’
      • ‘Hanging from the brooch pin was a white crystal on a worn leather thong.’
      • ‘Studying it, it appeared that it could actually be a pin more than a brooch.’
      • ‘Prison Service Orders say staff should not wear unauthorised badges or pins, and whatever the reasons for wearing it, the badge concerned could be misconstrued.’
      • ‘They ranged from the production of brass and other non-ferrous metals to screws, nuts, bolts, chains and anchors, pins, and jewellery.’
      • ‘Joe and I had found lapel pins and baggage stickers with a Canadian maple leaf design; these too were part of the kit.’
      • ‘Kerry fundraisers will be busy as bees this week as they take to the streets of the county selling pots of honey and lapel pins in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland.’
      • ‘We also add jewelry, from rings and bracelets to pins and neckwear.’
      • ‘Her work includes headpieces, necklaces, rings and pins.’
      • ‘The cufflinks, lapel pins and brooches have been made in Orkney and are available only to MSPs and parliament visitors.’
      • ‘In my satchel I had a black leathern pouch stuffed with silver pieces, and the tiny red one, full of rings and pins and brooches and chains.’
      • ‘Strands of faux pearls, hand-painted ladies' lapel pins, and other jeweled accents amplify the theme of the day.’
      • ‘As a material it was used for making a wide variety of objects but was especially common for jewellery such as brooches, buckles, belt ends, dress pins and rings.’
      • ‘The class also received public relations catalyst lapel pins.’
      • ‘He also had pins and badges of all the bands Tina had mentioned, plus a couple of more.’
      • ‘Due to the small size, we related the netsuke to our Western-style jewelry of pendants and pins.’
      • ‘Jewellery in the form of bracelet, rings, pins and earrings have been used universally since time immemorial.’
      badge, brooch, sticker
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Medicine A steel rod used to join the ends of fractured bones while they heal.
      • ‘They removed damaged tissue and inserted bolts and pins, trying to piece together his shattered bones and tendons.’
      • ‘Surgeons at St James's Hospital in Leeds, where she was treated, thought she may lose her legs but managed to save them with a variety of metal implants, screws, plates and pins.’
      • ‘The operation was success and her femur was pinned together with three large metal pins.’
      • ‘The woman next to me was in an accident and had metal pins surgically planted into her back for reconstruction.’
      • ‘His knee will now be held together by metal pins.’
    3. 1.3 A metal peg that holds down the activating lever of a hand grenade, preventing its explosion.
      • ‘I woke the other day with this quote floating around in my head ‘When you remove the pin, Mr. Hand Grenade is no longer your friend.’’
      • ‘After nearly three hundred years of grenade technology development, and the best way to activate it was still the old-fashioned pin.’
      • ‘Orr simply walked across the sand, clambered on to one of the tanks, ‘popped’ the pins on his hand grenades and moved over the edge of the hatch.’
      • ‘Kerry didn't see an opportunity; he saw a hand grenade with the pin taken out.’
    4. 1.4 A hairpin.
      • ‘Tuck the ends of your hair under the knot and secure with a bobby pin.’
      • ‘Pull your hair back and attach the pins vertically on both sides.’
    5. 1.5Music A peg round which one string of a musical instrument is fastened.
      • ‘‘You give people individual notes like the little pins in a musical box’, he chided the composer.’
  • 2A metal projection from a plug or an integrated circuit which makes an electrical connection with a socket or another part of a circuit.

    as modifier, in combination ‘a three-pin plug’
    • ‘The processor, for example, must be installed with great care, since the socket's pins can become easily bent.’
    • ‘Next to each power input for each port there is an output, again of the 3 pin connector type.’
    • ‘I was a little surprised that a 4 pin molex connection is required, as the fan doesn't really draw a lot of power.’
    • ‘Breathing deeply, I pulled the pin on the smoke bomb and hurled it at an unsuspecting Enrico, who was walking with a phone and had Jeff by his side.’
    • ‘The ports differ in how specific signals are connected to pins on the connector.’
    • ‘However, the publicity blurb does make clear that Malaysia has three pin electric plugs at 240 volts which is more than Thailand can claim.’
    • ‘The PCI connector includes voltage I / O pins for supplying power to the I / O buffers.’
    • ‘These pins plug into the circuit board of the product for which the chip is intended.’
    • ‘Through holes are also provided on the board for user expansion via a 96 pin DIN connector.’
    • ‘The position of these upper pins keeps the plug from turning - the pins bind the plug to the housing.’
    • ‘Mounting it is straight forward and then it's just a simple matter of plugging the 3 - pin fan socket into the motherboard's fan header.’
    • ‘In between the molex convertor and the 3 pin power connector is where the speed controller fits in.’
    • ‘The demo board is also equipped with a six pin modular connector to interface directly with the company's MPLAB in-circuit debugger.’
    • ‘It is an 80 pin connector that is designed for drives that plug into a SCSI backplane.’
    • ‘One of the sockets is only 2 pins, and this is for a ‘Fan Only’ cable.’
    • ‘The cartridge cover also supplies key features that aid in alignment of the pins and a socket.’
    • ‘In either case, you must ensure that there are no bent connection pins, the unit is plugged in properly, and the IDE cables are in good condition.’
    • ‘The pins in the power cable female connector are not springy enough, and fail to make good contact with the pin in the plug in the appliance.’
    • ‘The circuit couples the speaker connection of the first pin to the microphone connection of the second pin.’
    • ‘Luckily for me I had a three pin connector around from a much older case and was able to make my own adaptor.’
    • ‘We also can get a look at the three pin fan connections (four total) on the board.’
  • 3Golf
    A stick with a flag placed in a hole to mark its position.

    • ‘In a round that included three birdies and seven pars, she also claimed near pins on holes eight and fifteen, and the long putt on hole nine.’
    • ‘And as Fred and his three colleagues approached the green, the wind again took hold to blow the flag pin - and the four watched amazed as the ball plopped into the hole.’
    • ‘Can you imagine wanting to play golf without greens, targets, pins, or holes.’
    • ‘Daly had an opportunity to force a playoff, but also stroked his four-foot par hole past the pin.’
    • ‘His third shot out of the sand sees the ball roll 20 feet past the pin but he holes the tricky par putt.’
  • 4A skittle in bowling.

    • ‘Antero bowled a 515 series and Jim Montgomery knocked down 509 pins, both bowling as spares’
    • ‘He was unable to convert the spare and found himself down by 22 pins after the 1st frame.’
    • ‘In the winter you worked shoveling sidewalks and setting up pins in the bowling alley.’
    • ‘To help bring much-needed money into the household, the stalwart student set pins at the local bowling alley and poolhall.’
    • ‘Then again, one morning this week I was walking to the subway and a guy passed by on 3rd Avenue on a unicycle, juggling three bowling pins.’
    • ‘A'senti created a very large ball of electricity and sent it over to a throng of guards, laughing as they were knocked down unconscious like bowling pins.’
    • ‘It features lights that begin flashing on impact and continue to do so as the ball rolls down the lane and strikes the pins.’
    • ‘She throws a Brunswick Arc but is looking for something reactive, a ball that goes long and hits hard at the pins.’
    • ‘The way every crash of bowling balls and pins made her jump, and caused her eyes to dart about like those of a wary rabbit or a wild mare made him want to take her in his arms and allay all her fears.’
    • ‘He could react to the start signal, bring up the 625, blast six bowling pins off the table, reload, and take two more in under six seconds.’
    • ‘Wandering among its pillars, I felt like an ant among the pins of a bowling alley: 134 awesome skittles, each more elaborately decorated than the last.’
    • ‘You know what this is like, when you're doing you're best material and all you can hear is the sound of bowling pins being knocked over.’
    • ‘Glass threw a strike on his first ball in the 10th frame and needed only eight pins to take home the trophy.’
    • ‘The Crown suggested it made no sense for Willis, armed only with a bowling pin, to challenge a man with a gun.’
    • ‘They have 6 Mexican boys working for the YMCA bowling alley setting pins.’
    • ‘I flew across the country with a bowling pin in my carry on luggage.’
    • ‘And this idea is related to the ending of the film, where you see the strings that pull on the pins in the bowling alley.’
    • ‘Marvin runs, slipping on a banana peel, crashing into a mound of stacked bowling pins.’
    • ‘Olivia moved to Azure as Akamaru was about to take the bowling pin and smack Olivia's bowling ball, but lost balance and fell on his face.’
    • ‘All you need to add are the bowling pins and a bowling ball.’
  • 5pinsinformal A person's legs.

    ‘she was very nimble on her pins’
    • ‘For those with THE perfect pins, hemlines from micro short and slim fitting will suit individual tastes.’
    • ‘Even if you can't sing, can't dance but have a half decent set of pins and can play football, a new reality TV series wants to hear from you.’
    • ‘If my auld pins were half a century or so younger, I'd give it a go meself.’
  • 6Chess
    An attack on a piece or pawn which is thereby pinned.

    • ‘If Black develops his king bishop outside the pawn chain, he cannot break the pin by normal means.’
    • ‘Black breaks the pin caused by White's dark-squared Bishop while developing a piece and preparing to castle.’
    • ‘In order to differentiate between the White and Black pieces, the Black ones have small pins or pips on the top.’
    • ‘Black still has the pin against the undefended rook on h1, so it becomes a question of whether Black can defend his knight more times than White can attack it.’
    • ‘But now White's pieces swarm into the center and the pin on the knight becomes even more serious.’
  • 7British historical A half-firkin cask for beer.

    • ‘The gas (IN) fitting of a pin-lock-style keg has two pins; the beer fitting has three.’


  • 1with object and adverbial Attach or fasten with a pin or pins.

    ‘he pinned the badge on to his lapel’
    ‘her hair was pinned back’
    • ‘Attach and pin the pre-curled hair wefts around the base of the ponytail anchoring to the previously placed bobby pins.’
    • ‘Nenine managed to pin one onto her dress and proceeded to fasten another onto a red stole trimmed with gold.’
    • ‘A bloodstained note left by the couple, which suggested they might be planning to kill themselves, was found pinned to a fence nearby.’
    • ‘Then he pinned one of the badges to Becki's coat.’
    • ‘The gate was just the first step, there are fence rails to be nailed and sheep netting to be pinned before the boys can pack up their belongings and flit.’
    • ‘Under sunny skies, Chirac pinned Legion of Honour medals on 14 veterans in the pomp-filled ceremony at Arromanches.’
    • ‘Close by, fields were busy with tractors yesterday, but Peddie had declared his premises a no-go area, pinning a hastily-written ‘Keep Out’ to a tree.’
    • ‘She also comments on the amount of pornographic material that was pinned up on inmate's walls, despite the prison having a policy banning it.’
    • ‘In recent years, signs had been pinned to trees saying ‘No Permissive Footpath Exists’, he claimed.’
    • ‘By his Glasgow Academy days, he was pinning Labour Party flyers under his blazer and flashing them at fellow pupils.’
    • ‘Beau studied the handsome silver badge that was pinned inside, and his eyebrows rose.’
    • ‘One of the Red Soldiers turned me and pinned a beautiful shining badge onto my left chest.’
    • ‘She has golden blonde hair that is neatly pinned back with a few random strands left on her face as if she is saying that she could be cute without any effort.’
    • ‘A map of Afghanistan is pinned above the fridge and the names of the provinces and towns trip off Moler's tongue as though they were just across the Mississippi.’
    • ‘ON a recent visit to our daughter in London, she brought home the following which had been pinned on the staff notice board by the head teacher.’
    • ‘Mikey pins a large decorated badge of Jackie Robinson on the Golem, who smiles.’
    • ‘Tom Crute's ‘Corporate Death Star’ was pinned up near the ceiling and above other works.’
    • ‘One young woman recalled the way her badges had been pinned to her school blazer; another said she'd never forget Leigh's smile.’
    • ‘Her long black hair, having been pinned randomly across her head, and dark eye make-up gave for a very gothic look.’
    attach, fasten, affix, fix, stick, tack, nail, staple, clip, join, link, secure
    View synonyms
  • 2with object and adverbial Hold (someone) firmly in a specified position so they are unable to move.

    ‘she was standing pinned against the door’
    ‘Richards pinned him down until the police arrived’
    • ‘She wasn't as fast as she thought she was, however, and she made it only two steps before she was pinned against the wall of the stable.’
    • ‘But the second she let her guard down he turned the tables on her, rolling her over onto her back and pinning her in a move she had taught him only that morning called ‘the lockdown’.’
    • ‘I growled and turned to strangle his scrawny neck, but I quickly remembered I was pinned against the wall.’
    • ‘The man, who has not been named, had to be released by firefighters after he was pinned against a fence by the lorry at a Weymouth industrial estate on Wednesday morning.’
    • ‘He groaned and this time, turned me around so that I was pinned against the wall.’
    • ‘One pinned the 36-year-old down as the other repeatedly stamped on his leg, York Crown Court heard yesterday.’
    • ‘For the second time in ten minutes I was pinned against a wall.’
    • ‘The employee was pinned against the drum the rope was being wound on, she said.’
    • ‘So while I was still pinned against the wall he used his free arm to dig into the jacket.’
    • ‘At hare coursing meetings all over Ireland, hares are still capable of being pinned down, injured and killed by muzzled dogs.’
    • ‘I tried to ward him off with my arms but I was pinned against the fence.’
    • ‘Anthon moved so fast, Kiki hardly had time to react and when she did, she was pinned against her car with Anthon's hand at her throat.’
    • ‘Inside a small apartment, Adam was pinned against the door with a hand across his mouth.’
    • ‘He rushed forward, ramming his forearm against her collarbone, so that she was pinned against the wall.’
    • ‘The child was pinned against a wall by the bike as its rider was thrown into the road at Stoneclough village, near Bolton.’
    • ‘At the last moment, he noticed that he was pinned against a hill, but by the time it registered, it was too late.’
    • ‘He was pinned against a wall while several girls were trying for his attention.’
    • ‘Jason was pinned against a tall oak tree with Nemesis slowly closing in on him.’
    • ‘Within five moves she was pinned and his blade pressed to her white throat.’
    • ‘Kai woke up, he tried moving but something was pinning him on the table that he had slept on, he looked to his right and on his arm was the beautiful Mina.’
    hold, restrain, press, pinion, constrain, hold fast, hold down, immobilize
    View synonyms
  • 3Chess
    with object and adverbial with object Hinder or prevent (a piece or pawn) from moving because of the danger to a more valuable piece standing behind it along the line of an attack.

    ‘the black rook on e4 is pinned’
    • ‘Since the black queen is pinned to the black king by the white rook, the queen cannot be moved off the e-file.’
    • ‘White Bishop on e2 is pinned to the White King.’


  • (as) clean (or neat) as a new pin

    • Extremely clean or neat.

      • ‘He kept the big upper room, where his best customers gathered, as neat as a new pin.’
      • ‘I've made him as neat as a new pin this morning, and he says the Bishop will think him too buckish by half.’
      neat, neat and tidy, as neat as a new pin, orderly, well ordered, in order, in good order, well kept, shipshape, shipshape and bristol fashion, in apple-pie order, immaculate, spick and span, uncluttered, organized, well organized, well arranged, sorted out, straight, straightened out, trim, spruce
      View synonyms
  • for two pins I'd (or he'd, she'd, etc.) —

    • Used to convey strong temptation to do something, typically from annoyance or irritation.

      ‘for two pins I'd have tipped that bowl and all its contents over her’
  • be able to hear a pin drop

    • Used to describe absolute silence or stillness.

      ‘there was a pause in which you could have heard a pin drop’
      • ‘While a speaker laid out research evidence of the link between heart disease, stress and long hours, you could have heard a pin drop.’
      • ‘There was a minute's silence for Paul and you could have heard a pin drop.’
      • ‘I swear you could have heard a pin drop at that moment,’ Kirsten wrote.’
      • ‘You really could have heard a pin drop when O'Rourke sang ‘Marrying the Sea’ practically unaccompanied, apart from the soundtrack of rolling waves.’
      • ‘‘Go back to your rooms’ I said, quietly, but in the silence, you could've heard a pin drop.’
      • ‘She could be dead asleep, but if she hears a pin drop in the hallway, she's up and running to the door, barking like a madman.’
      • ‘Edward, who normally hears a pin drop three miles away, didn't even stir.’
      • ‘That courtroom was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.’
      • ‘At one point he says not only can he hear a pin drop but can hear it dropping it through the air.’
      • ‘And if you can hold eight hundred people in dead silence and hear a pin drop you know something's going right.’
  • pin one's ears back

    • Listen carefully.

      • ‘It's pinning their ears back, throwing out question after question you know they can't answer correctly and then attacking every single syllable they toss up from their defensive crouch.’
  • pin one's hopes (or faith) on

    • Rely heavily on.

      ‘ministers were pinning their hopes on a big-spending Christmas’
      • ‘When astrophysicist Joseph Smith, Ph.D., was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1984, he may have been tempted to pin his hopes on stardust.’
      • ‘Many Hispanics pin hopes on pope's visit.’
      rely on, count on, depend on, place reliance on, lean on, bank on, trust, be sure of, trust in, place one's trust in, have confidence in, have every confidence in, believe in, put one's faith in, swear by, take for granted, take on trust, take as read
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • pin someone down

    • Force someone to be specific or make a commitment.

      ‘he's very hard to pin down’
      • ‘I've never really tried to pin a man down about walking up the aisle, or wanted a wedding dress.’
      • ‘The chronology he gives pins him down at 27; yet his childhood reminiscences about watching Magpie and eating Marmite suggest an earlier generation - his mum even remembers the Second World War.’
      • ‘When Sawyer finally pinned him down, exasperated he came out with this gem.’
      • ‘In real life, however, it would be hard to pin her down to two personalities.’
      • ‘We tried twice, unsuccessfully, to pin McClure down on a commitment to exclusively market-driven solutions, but he only reiterated his bullet points.’
      • ‘With all this mixing of reality and fiction - an actor playing a musician, an actor playing an actor, a singer on film soundtracks - you'd be hard pressed to pin Tucker down.’
      • ‘There is just no substitute for having someone who thoroughly disagrees with you pin you down and force you to defend each and every one of your assertions.’
      • ‘When I arrive he hands me a CV of his glittering business career but, curiously, his birthdate is missing and he will be pinned down to nothing more than being a 60-something.’
      • ‘Hoggard bridled at a suggestion that England have worked hard on pinning Tendulkar down, saying: ‘I get tired of hearing about him.’’
      • ‘He was, however, very careful to avoid the word ‘crisis,’ which another Democrat was trying very hard to pin him down on.’
      • ‘Megumi wasn't a heavy drinker at all, but today wasn't about following the rules she had been pinned down to by her life.’
      • ‘The records of his life don't help much in pinning Marlowe down, either.’
      • ‘He is also broke, trying to pay his mortgage and live a simple life whenever he is not pinned down by investigators for tax evasion.’
      • ‘‘I was one of the first to be born on dry land,’ Wood elaborates three days later, when the restless Rolling Stone can be pinned down for a proper interview at his house in Kingston upon Thames.’
      • ‘Actually, I bet if you pinned him down, he'd say anyone who wasn't a carbon copy of himself was ‘rubbish’, so probably in his world view there are half a dozen people aren't.’
      • ‘Earlier she told councillors the suggestion to pin people down to one or two specified times a week was not realistic.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, although it was difficult to pin him down to a specific century, it was possible to see that his diet had contained a lot of fish.’
      • ‘The amendments are sure to appear at some stage and they will be resisted, but the first thing to do now is to pin ministers down during the debate tomorrow and get them to admit what they are planning.’
      • ‘In the reconnaissance business, it is more important to push aside or obscure the observation of an enemy scout, rather than destroy him, unless a collector is pinned down and hope of extrication is slim.’
      make someone commit themselves, constrain, force, compel, pressure, put pressure on, pressurize, tie down, nail down
      View synonyms
  • pin something down

    • Define or identify something precisely.

      ‘the government's ideology is bafflingly difficult to pin down’
      • ‘I've worked hard, I've done my best, and I've pinned something down.’
      • ‘In 1955, the timing was pinned down by a radiocarbon-dating study, which revealed that the temperature change had been rapid.’
      • ‘Later on, the affair was pinned down onto a group of middle-level cadres.’
      • ‘The Institute has taken all the photographs and tried to pin them down to precise locations and times, matching them to a known war crime incident.’
      • ‘The reason we do Shakespeare is, it's like a diamond - it's multifaceted, you can't pin it down.’
      • ‘Castle Point Council had 50 complaints on the matter, and as well as pinning the problem down to the sewage works, is also probing pongs in other parts of the island, thought to be coming from other sources.’
      • ‘But I don't think their mechanics has been pinned down.’
      • ‘I wish I had access to Lexis-Nexis right now, because I'm sure I could pin this story down if her old columns for the NY Post are up there.’
      • ‘Under the Government's new licensing act, if a disorder problem can be pinned down to a particular bar, pub or club, the licensee will be hauled before the council's licensing committee’
      • ‘Anyway, let's try and put the mess into some sort of order and pin the bastards down.’
      • ‘One could argue that the main reason HP shares have been pinned down by rivals stems from investors' perception of HP as being caught between services rich IBM and nimble, cheap Dell.’
      • ‘Maybe a clarification of the Litesports position in the glider ranks would be helpful but it is difficult to pin it down.’
      • ‘Completely undermines the guilt-tripping by pinning it down to hard numbers.’
      • ‘Loops and riffs are pinned down by atmospheric guitars and beautiful, perfect, writhing bass lines.’
      • ‘Had you asked me thirty or forty years ago I would have pinned it down instantly, but it has somehow fogged over in the mists of time.’
      • ‘The artist's visual parables slither deftly away before their exact meaning can be pinned down; they remain, at their core, as tantalizingly mysterious as dreams.’
      • ‘Det Sgt Stansbie said: ‘In the past people have estimated which drugs offenders were taking in the district but this has been the first time we can pin the figure down as a matter of fact.’’
      • ‘This diversity is true of all traditions, religions or nations even though some of their adherents have futilely tried to draw boundaries around themselves and pin their creeds down neatly.’
      • ‘‘Why do we need to pin it down,’ asked one of the presenters, ‘when its potential is that it is happening all the time?’’
      • ‘Critics of such schemes argue that they offer too narrow a definition of sculpture, pinning it down to a monumental tradition.’
      • ‘There's more about the honeybees in Anarchist Bees in The Economist, where I seem to remember it saying Oldroyd's team had pinned the mutation down to a single gene, called alien.’
      • ‘I was hoping we would at least get some dates and times that would have helped pin things down.’
      • ‘Robert Weisbuch's analysis of the poem is the most eloquent argument I've read for refusing to pin the poem down to the kind of allegorical reading I am doing here.’
      define, put one's finger on, put into words, put words to, express in words, express, designate, name, specify, identify, pinpoint, place, home in on
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  • pin something on

    • Attribute the blame or responsibility for something to (someone)

      ‘they pinned the blame for the loss of jobs on the trade unions’
      • ‘As ever, he will try to pin the blame on his so-called editors and sack them whenever he needs to bolster his macho style of management.’
      • ‘Warner was able to portray himself as a courageous politician by raising taxes while at the same time pinning the blame on the Republicans.’
      • ‘Gagliano tried to pin the blame on the bureaucrats responsible.’
      • ‘Actually it was a fun job, and before you go pinning the blame on me for your dinner being interrupted, keep reading.’
      • ‘By pointing out the discrepancies within my country, I do not seek to pin the blame on any one side.’
      • ‘Even the Tories, desperate to pin the blame on the other lot, have been forced to admit that, yes, it was all their idea in the first place.’
      • ‘But, warns Billy Adams in Sydney, it is too easy to pin the blame on arsonists.’
      • ‘He doesn't even have the good grace to scam us by finding a scapegoat to pin the blame on.’
      • ‘In the light of the apparent change in the attitude of Pakistan and certain recent developments, instead of pinning the entire blame on Pakistan, there is need to look within.’
      • ‘In an attempt to shore up his credibility, Chirac tried to distance himself from the referendum debacle by pinning the blame on his prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin.’
      • ‘These qualities can occur in any shape of family and in any kind of childcare, so we shouldn't get caught up in pinning the blame on single parents or working mothers - it's the emotional dynamics which count.’
      • ‘But when the situation is not clear, it is important to examine both sides before pinning the blame on the doctor.’
      • ‘The Commission of Inquiry set up to look at the cause of the platform's collapse and the rescue procedures that followed pinned the blame on a hitherto unknown cause, ‘systemic failure’.’
      • ‘Rather than pin the blame on Brown, Murdock claimed the goal should not have stood because of a foul on the teenager.’
      • ‘But pinning the blame on any one person or procedure was difficult.’
      • ‘The latest instalment yesterday saw a carefully orchestrated attempt by Jarvis, the maintenance firm contracted to service the line - and much of Scotland's rail tracks - to pin the blame on a mysterious saboteur.’
      • ‘The CIA has tried to wash its hands off the uranium story by pinning the blame on Britain.’
      • ‘After he is implicated in a tragic accident at work, he goes in search of someone else to pin the blame on.’
      • ‘How easy is it to pin the blame on a senior manager when he is 12 steps above anyone who has seen the bolts on the tracks, or the ferry doors?’
      • ‘Trying to pin the blame on any other individual is a fool's errand.’
      blame something on, lay the blame for something on, attribute something to, impute something to, ascribe something to
      View synonyms


Late Old English pinn, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch pin ‘pin, peg’, from Latin pinna ‘point, tip, edge’.




Main definitions of pin in English

: pin1PIN2


(also PIN code, PIN number)


  • An identifying number allocated to an individual by a bank or other organization and used for validating electronic transactions.


1970s: short for personal identification number.