General English

Cars & Driving

  • noun a bar used as a pivot or swivel (e.g. kingpin, swivel pin), or as a fastener (e.g. cotter pin, dowel pin)


  • noun one of several short pieces of wire attached to an integrated circuit package that allows the IC to be connected to a circuit board
  • noun a short piece of metal, part of a plug which fits into a hole in a socket
  • noun
    (written as PIN)
    a unique sequence of digits that identifies a user to provide authorisation to access a system, often used on automatic cash dispensers or with a PID or password to enter a system.


  • A peg or bolt of some rigid material used to connect or fasten members.


  • (written as PIN)
    Acronym for positive-intrinsic-negative. A semiconductor configuration in which a lightly-doped intrinsic layer is sandwiched between heavily-doped p and n layers.
  • (written as PIN)
    Acronym for personal identification number. A usually numeric password used to help authenticate a person wishing to perform banking, purchasing, or other types of transactions.
  • (written as PIN)
    Acronym for personal identification number. A password utilized to help authenticate a person wishing to activate, deactivate, or otherwise use a security system such as that protecting a home.
  • In a plug in electrical component such as an IC or tube, a terminal which allows physical connection with compatible sockets in other devices or components. It may also provide structural support. Also known as prong, or base pin.
  • acronym forpositive-intrinsic-negative
    (written as PIN)
  • synonymprong

Information & Library Science

  • noun a sharp piece of metal used for holding material or paper together


  • noun a small sharp piece of metal for attaching things together
  • noun a metal nail used to attach broken bones

Origin & History of “pin”

Latin pinna (a probable relative of English fin) meant ‘wing, feather, pointed peak’. Amongst its derivatives were the diminutive pinnāculum, which has given English pinnacle (14th c.) and, via French, panache (16th c.) (which originally meant ‘plume of feathers’), pinnātus ‘feathered, winged’, source of English pinnate (18th c.), and vulgar Latin *pinniō, from which English gets pinion ‘wing’ (15th c.). Pinna itself was borrowed into Old English as pinn, and it was used for ‘peg’ (a sense which survives in various technical contexts); the application to a ‘small thin metal fastener’ did not emerge until the 14th century.

A pinafore (18th c.) is etymologically a garment that is ‘pinned afore’, that is, ‘pinned to the front of a dress to protect it’.