Definition of pinprick in English:



  • 1A prick caused by a pin.

    ‘for the blood to be poisoned it takes only a pinprick’
    • ‘It means patients can get an accurate reading on the day of their clinic appointment and, instead of having to take blood from a vein, patients only have to undergo a pinprick using the new machine.’
    • ‘Stork notes that pinpricks show that Jan van Eyck's 1432 portrait of Cardinal Albergati was magnified mechanically, with a proportional compass.’
    • ‘She then pinpricks for 45 minutes, lulling most patients into such a state of relaxation that they are unaware of anything but the tiniest tingle.’
    • ‘It says: ‘The bubble didnae burst’ and so far, despite a couple of pinpricks, it is still intact.’
    • ‘Does it cover the small pinpricks called ‘petechial haemorrhage’?’
    • ‘He can feel about two-thirds of the normal sensation of being touched and half of the usual intensity of pinpricks.’
    • ‘Brand names take the place of skin - Diane pinpricks a drugged syringe into the foil cover of her competitor Karen's single-serve Evian cup as if it were flesh.’
    • ‘Other ballots are more baffling: those with pinpricks across the portion of the card that does not match any contest in the ballot book.’
    • ‘The country's leaders are worried the sporadic suicide bombings could be relative pinpricks leading up to terrorism on a much larger scale.’
    • ‘Delicate folds, cuts and pinpricks, or lifts at the drawings' corners and the resulting shadows, are all experienced as major events.’
    • ‘This recurs in the bunch of bananas covered with pinpricks that, oxidised on contact with the air, form the black outline of a face.’
    • ‘This process enables the donor to gift this precious platelet concentrate to a sick relative with just an hour of gazing absent-mindedly at the smiley blood drop and suffering little more than two pinpricks.’
    • ‘The stimuli included mechanical pinpricks, electrical stimuli, contact heat, and injection of a low-pH solution.’
    • ‘The first needle is pushed in gently and I am aware of a slight pinprick.’
    • ‘Our selling point is that it requires only a tiny pinprick and it isn't as sore.’
    • ‘The star can also feel a pinprick over most of his body and can distinguish between hot and cold, and sharp and dull sensations.’
    • ‘He picks up a disposable pen and points to two tiny pinpricks.’
    • ‘But Anna believed the test, which uses the blood pinprick given to all babies, would have prevented Sonny becoming a financial burden on the health service.’
    • ‘Each pinprick lasts barely three seconds, and is slightly uncomfortable rather than painful, especially on the forehead, where the skin is very thin.’
    • ‘A rash which starts off as tiny red or purple pinpricks and may develop into bruises which do not fade when pressed with a glass.’
    jab, sting, stab, nick, jag
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    1. 1.1 A minor annoyance or irritation.
      ‘compared with the indignities he had so far endured, this was a mere pinprick’
      • ‘His condemnation of violence and wealth, of government repression and church hypocrisy, brought him administrative pinpricks and excommunication.’
      • ‘These explorations are, however, mere pinpricks in the impervious hide of western culture.’
      • ‘On Jupiter, it blows material clear out of the atmosphere but is nevertheless a mere pinprick to the giant planet.’
      • ‘India cannot allow political pinpricks from its neighbours to come in the way of pursuing freer regional trade through unilateral action where necessary.’
      • ‘Harder than even the 4 inches of reinforced steel below it, it served to make Allied shells, even AP rounds, bounce off like pinpricks.’
      • ‘And while Gammell's most recent find in India eases the pressure, it is a pinprick in terms of global needs.’
      • ‘It was a minor pinprick in his side that his plan had not succeeded.’
      • ‘Last night a senior air force officer described the bombing of the sites as a minor operation, a pinprick raid which accomplished what it set out to achieve.’
      • ‘These tactics were often not much more than pinpricks; more serious troubles could be brought on by traceable sabotage.’
      • ‘Our economy is so huge that the scenes of destruction, awesome as they are, are only a pinprick.’
      • ‘The comment stung Winston's eyes with pinpricks of embarrassment, and he wanted to run until he couldn't see straight.’
      • ‘But the IRA attacks, of course, were pinpricks compared to the atrocities of 11 September 2001.’
      irritant, source of irritation, source of vexation, annoyance, source of annoyance, thorn in someone's flesh, thorn in someone's side, pest, bother, trial, torment, plague, inconvenience, nuisance, bugbear, menace
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  • 2A very small dot or amount.

    ‘the stars were pinpricks of light’
    • ‘Suddenly, in the black night sky, a pinprick of light is spotted off the nose of the plane.’
    • ‘His pupils were pinpricks, and the surrounding circlets of frost-blue hummed as if fed with raw, crackling sound.’
    • ‘Images are exposed directly onto light-sensitive paper through a tiny lens the size of a pinprick.’
    • ‘They wander in a dark Machiavellian universe lit only by pinpricks of mercy to light their way.’
    • ‘It doesn't diminish the summit of breathtaking Ben Nevis that you can see the pinprick of a Safeway and McDonald's from the top.’
    • ‘While the stars gave off small bright pinpricks of light, the moon had a soft and faint glowing aura.’
    • ‘Deanna could make out the tiny red pinpricks of fighters and missiles swarming toward the two ships as they accelerated madly to attempt an escape.’
    • ‘Timon's eyes narrowed to pinpricks, and his face grew dark.’
    • ‘The iris of each eye was dotted with pinpricks of lights like stars, and the pupils were gray, like the moon.’
    • ‘Really, New Zealand is a tiny pinprick of a place.’
    • ‘I smiled and waved back at them until they were mere pinpricks in the distance.’
    • ‘Her eye lights, pinpricks when I arrived, where dimming rapidly.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the whole Net vanishes, except for a few pinpricks of light, far, far away, imitating the stars on a cloudless, impossibly dark night.’
    • ‘I loved to sit in the planetarium, just me beneath a million pinpricks of light.’
    • ‘I scream at the ceiling, its blinking pinpricks of light, to let me fall off that edge, falling wholly into that unfeeling darkness and letting me feel no more pain.’
    • ‘Their eyes focused on the other's until they were nothing more than pinpricks interrupted by the continuing flow of bodies passing through the widening space between them.’
    • ‘We made love in the cheery, blinking lights, and I gave her a ring with a little pinprick of a diamond in it.’
    • ‘The moonlight cast its effervescent glow over the beguiling gardens of the large castle; pinpricks of light illuminated the path that Callista knew so well.’
    • ‘‘Sure,’ not Amy shrugged and looked out the window at the grey clouds that smothered the bright pinpricks of light so far below.’
    spot, speck, fleck, speckle, point, pinpoint, mark, dab
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