Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French pignon, from Latin penna (feather).


pinion (plural pinions)

  1. A wing.
  2. The joint of a bird's wing farthest from the body.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)
  3. Any of the outermost primary feathers on a bird's wing.
  4. A moth of the genus Lithophane.
  5. (obsolete) A fetter for the arm.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ainsworth to this entry?)


pinion (third-person singular simple present pinions, present participle pinioning, simple past and past participle pinioned)

  1. To remove the joint of a bird's wing farthest from the body to prevent the bird from flying.
  2. To restrain by binding or holding the arms.
    • 1607, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, V.ii
      Know, sir that I / Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court, / Nor once be chastis'd with the sober eye / Of dull Octavia.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, The Fate of the Artemis[1]:
      “[…] Captain Markam had been found lying half-insensible, gagged and bound, on the floor of the sitting-room, his hands and feet tightly pinioned, and a woollen comforter wound closely round his mouth and neck ; whilst Mrs. Markham's jewel-case, containing valuable jewellery and the secret plans of Port Arthur, had disappeared. […]”
    • 1916, James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Macmillan Press Ltd, paperback, page 80
      Nash pinioned his arms behind while Boland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gutter.
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot Chapter IX
      I was suddenly seized from behind and thrown to earth. As I fell, a warm body fell on top of me, and hands grasped my arms and legs. When I could look up, I saw a number of giant fingers pinioning me down, while others stood about surveying me.

Etymology 2[edit]

From French pignon.


pinion (plural pinions)

  1. The smallest gear in a gear drive train.
Derived terms[edit]