Middle English Dictionary Entry

pin n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) A peg of wood or metal used as a fastener, nail; bolt; also fig.; ~ nail, nail or peg used to attach tile to the lath of a roof [cp. tip-pin]; (b) a pin used to hold a wheel on an axle or frame, linchpin; axel ~, axel-tre ~, ax-tre ~; cart ~ [see cart 8. (b)]; also, some kind of pin associated with a cart [quot.: a1425]; (c) a part of a harness; ?pin attaching a trace to the collar; ~ trais, trais ~; tre ~, such a pin made of wood.
2.
A pin used as a fastener for clothing or in sewing; an ornamental pin for clothing or the hair; brooch, hairpin.
3.
(a) A peg on which something is hung; (b) a pin around which something is wound: a spindle used to apply traction in setting bones; tuning pin.
4.
(a) A part of a lock or latch; bolt of a door, gate, etc.; (b) a pin used as a control for a mechanical device.
5.
(a) A sharpened pin used for pricking or stabbing; (b) a spike or wedge; coll. the spiked lower ends of a portcullis; (c) a surgical pin or wedge; ~ of tre, a wooden pin used as a surgical tool; (d) the spike of a candelstick, a pricket; (e) fig. the penis.
6.
(a) A part of a timepiece or astronomical instrument functioning as a pointer or gnomon; (b) a pin inserted in a drinking vessel marking equal portions of the contents; also, an amount of drink thus marked; half ~, half the amount marked by the pin.
7.
(a) A pedestal; (b) a pinnacle or point.
8.
A tumorous disease of the eye.
9.
(a) In cpds. & combs.: pinnes hed, the head of a pin; a minuscule amount; ~ maker, a metal worker engaged in making various sorts of nails and pins; (b) in fig. phrases: hitten the ~, to be exactly right; hongen bi on-other ~, be concerned with something else, be improperly directed; ne yeven a ~ of, setten not at a ~, consider (sth.) worthless; oure bagge hongeth on a sliper ~, we are in precarious circumstances; I wol setten min soule (on) a meri ~, your herte hongeth on a joli ~, the yong manes herte stondeth on a joli ~, I will be (you are, the young man is) in a merry frame of mind; your herte is on on-other ~, you are interested in someone else; his lif is lighted upon a litel ~, his life has come to an end; (c) in proverb.
10.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1475 A philosophre (Hrl 372)p.30 : The harpe discordethe for the pynnes are gone.
Note: Additional quotation for sense 3.(b) 'tuning peg.'

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc., see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. pin.