1 [pin-yuhn]
a gear with a small number of teeth, especially one engaging with a rack or larger gear. See diag. under rack1.
a shaft or spindle cut with teeth engaging with a gear.
Metalworking. a gear driving a roll in a rolling mill.

1650–60; < French pignon cogwheel, Middle French peignon, derivative of peigne comb, variant of pigne < Latin pectin- (stem of pecten) comb; see pecten

pinionless, adjective
pinionlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To pinionless
World English Dictionary
pinion1 (ˈpɪnjən)
1.  poetic chiefly a bird's wing
2.  the part of a bird's wing including the flight feathers
3.  to hold or bind (the arms) of (a person) so as to restrain or immobilize him
4.  to confine or shackle
5.  to make (a bird) incapable of flight by removing that part of (the wing) from which the flight feathers grow
[C15: from Old French pignon wing, from Latin pinna wing]

pinion2 (ˈpɪnjən)
a cogwheel that engages with a larger wheel or rack, which it drives or by which it is driven
[C17: from French pignon cogwheel, from Old French peigne comb, from Latin pecten comb; see pecten]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"wing joint," c.1440, from M.Fr. pignon (c.1400), from V.L. *pinnionem, from L. penna "wing" (see pen (1)). Verb meaning "disable by binding the arms" is from 1558, older than lit. sense "cut the pinions of a wing to prevent a bird from flying" (1577).

"small gear with teeth" (as in rack and pinion), 1659, from Fr. pignon, from O.Fr. pignon "crenellation, battlement," aug. of L. pinna "battlement, pinnacle;" confused with (but perhaps ult. a variant of) penna "wing, feather, peak" (see pen (1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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