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[pin-bawl] /ˈpɪnˌbɔl/
any of various games played on a sloping, glass-topped table presenting a field of colorful, knoblike target pins and rails, the object usually being to shoot a ball, driven by a spring, up a side passage and cause it to roll back down against these projections and through channels, which electrically flash or ring and record the score.
Origin of pinball
1880-85, Americanism; pin + ball1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pinball
  • It also provided the opportunity to stop at a local restaurant and play the pinball machine and never get to the library.
  • Description of pinball machine games at a luncheonette.
  • Wherever you look, pinball is out, video games are in.
  • Cosmic rays are actually particles, accelerated by supernovae remnants, then knocked around in a game of stellar pinball.
  • For many years, it was pachinko, or playing the pinball machines.
  • Ask him what his favorite game is, and he's liable to say a tie between pinball and baseball.
  • Owners of rare and vintage arcade and pinball games converge on a hotel ballroom and pack it full of every awesome thing ever.
  • There are a few pinball machines near the entrance, too.
  • In pinball, he reasoned, the prize for winning is getting to play again.
  • Northwest suburban pinball enthusiasts aim for world.
British Dictionary definitions for pinball


  1. a game in which the player shoots a small ball through several hazards on a table, electrically operated machine, etc
  2. (as modifier): a pinball machine
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 pinball

also pin-ball, game played on a sloping surface, 1911, from pin (n.) + ball (n.1). Earlier it meant "a pincushion" (1803).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pinball



To move about erratically: Robin Williams' comedy routines pinball from one manic impression to another

[1980s+; fr the game of pinball, found by 1911, in which a spring-propelled ball bounces about among obstacles]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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