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[pin-yuh n] /ˈpɪn yən/
the distal or terminal segment of the wing of a bird consisting of the carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges.
the wing of a bird.
a feather.
the flight feathers collectively.
verb (used with object)
to cut off the pinion of (a wing) or bind (the wings), as in order to prevent a bird from flying.
to disable or restrain (a bird) in such a manner.
to bind (a person's arms or hands) so they cannot be used.
to disable (someone) in such a manner; shackle.
to bind or hold fast, as to a thing:
to be pinioned to one's bad habits.
Origin of pinion2
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English pynyon < Middle French pignon wing, pinion < Vulgar Latin *pinniōn (stem of pinniō), derivative of Latin pinna feather, wing, fin
Related forms
unpinioned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pinioned
  • The limbs of each of the prisoners were now pinioned.
  • And the guiding hand may soon find itself pinioned behind bars.
  • pinioned by his crippling neurological disease, he could no longer walk, read or write.
  • My neck was stiff, too, so stiff that it was pinioned to the pillow.
  • Then his face grew suddenly white and and his pinioned knees trembled.
  • The pinioned prisoner was left to slowly perish in the utmost pain.
  • They may be possessed and sold, but all males must be neutered and all individuals must be surgically pinioned.
  • Most individuals who buy these swans would want them to be pinioned so that they stay on their property.
  • There are exceptions from pen standards for animals kept on a persons' own land if they have been pinioned and neutered.
  • Thinking that it was a polecat or some other small animal, he grabbed a pitch fork and pinioned it to the wall of the coop.
British Dictionary definitions for pinioned


(mainly poetic) a bird's wing
the part of a bird's wing including the flight feathers
verb (transitive)
to hold or bind (the arms) of (a person) so as to restrain or immobilize him
to confine or shackle
to make (a bird) incapable of flight by removing that part of (the wing) from which the flight feathers grow
Word Origin
C15: from Old French pignon wing, from Latin pinna wing


a cogwheel that engages with a larger wheel or rack, which it drives or by which it is driven
Word Origin
C17: from French pignon cogwheel, from Old French peigne comb, from Latin pecten comb; see pecten
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pinioned



"wing joint, segment of a bird's wing," mid-15c., from Old French pignon "wing-feather, wing, pinion" (c.1400), from Vulgar Latin *pinnionem (nominative *pinnio), augmentative of Latin pinna "wing" (see pin (n.)).

"small wheel with teeth to gear with a larger one" (as in rack and pinion), 1650s, from French pignon "pinion" (16c.), literally "gable," from Old French pignon "pointed gable, summit," from Vulgar Latin *pinnionem, augmentative of Latin pinna "battlement, pinnacle" (see pin (n.)).


"disable by binding the arms," 1550s, older in English than literal sense "cut or bind the pinions (of a bird's wing) to prevent flying" (1570s); from pinion (n.1). Related: Pinioned.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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