Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A slight puncture made by or as if by a pin.
  • n. An insignificant wound.
  • n. A minor annoyance.
  • transitive v. To puncture with or as if with a pin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An insignificant puncture made by a pin or similar point.
  • n. A mildly annoying wound or damage.
  • v. To produce a jabbing sensation like a pinprick.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. small puncture (as if made by a pin)
  • n. a minor annoyance

Etymologies

From pin + prick. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • (I still feel like I'm nowhere close to being done, but the light at the end of the tunnel that used to be the size of a pinprick is now at least the size of a saucer.)

    Pretty Smart for a "New" Kid

  • He made it clear that this would not be what many have termed a pinprick, but a sustained operation.

    CNN Transcript Sep 13, 2001

  • To those who fear for their survival at every turn, a pinprick is the same as a punch, is the same as a grenade, is the same as a cluster bomb, is the same as a nuclear holocaust.

    open Democracy News Analysis - Comments

  • A 0.005% financial speculation tax -- a "pinprick" for international banks -- would be an important stream of revenue for domestic and global development initiatives.

    Anand Reddi: Financing Global Health Aid and Protecting Wall Street: Enact a Financial Speculation Tax

  • A proposed financial speculation tax -- a financial "pinprick" for international banks -- would be an important stream of revenue to fund domestic and global development initiatives as well as reduce the reckless financial speculation practices of international banks.

    Anand Reddi: Financing Global Health Aid and Protecting Wall Street: Enact a Financial Speculation Tax

  • To make good that agreement, NATO has fundamentally altered the way in which such air strikes will be conducted, empowering military commanders to respond to a broad range of targets rather than the "pinprick" responses of the past.

    The Risk Of 'Americanizing' The War

  • While this may involve some pain, it is like a "pinprick" compared to the suffering involved when one does not diversify.

    Cramer's Mad Money - The Meaning of Life (12/8/10) - Seeking Alpha

  • Mr Clegg will set out Lib Dem plans to scrap the £12.5 billion cut in VAT, which he describes as a "pinprick", and invest the cash in green initiatives that would create tens of thousands of jobs.

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  • But the most discriminatory tests, as identified by a classification tree analysis, were generally familiar and not unexpected, such as pinprick for the detection of a sensory deficit or hyperalgesia

    PLoS Medicine: New Articles

  • And in his keynote address to the party faithful, Mr Clegg will set out Lib Dem plans to scrap the £12. 5bn VAT cut, which he describes as a "pinprick", and invest the cash in green initiatives he claims will create thousands of jobs.

    British Blogs

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