pin down

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pin (one) down

1. Literally, to use one's body weight to hold someone down on the ground. My older brother always used to pin me down and pinch my arms when we were kids.
2. By extension, to try to force someone into a position where must commit to a single, precise answer or piece of information. The president never let reporters question him long enough for them to pin him down on any issue they brought up. It may seem dishonest, but it's important not to get pinned down on a topic that could hurt the company.
See also: down, pin

pin (something) down

1. Literally, to use pins, nails, tacks, etc., to secure or affix something (to something else). Remember to pin the tarp down, or it will get blown away when the storm hits! Let me just pin down this pattern onto the mannequin so I can remember the design in the morning.
2. To specify something; to establish or determine something concretely. I'd like to pin down the dates we want to fly so I can start looking at ticket prices. I think we've pinned down the cause of the electrical failures. It seems like you're struggling to pin down what your essay really trying to say.
See also: down, pin

pin someone down (on something)

 and nail someone down* (on something)
Fig. to demand and receive a firm answer from someone to some question. (Alludes to shifting from answer to answer; commit to one answer or another.) I tried to pin him down on a time and place, but he was very evasive. Don't try to pin down the mayor on anything! I want to nail her down on a meeting time.
See also: down, pin

pin something down

 and nail something down 
1. Lit to attach or affix something with nails or pins. Pin the pattern down temporarily. Nail down this piece of flooring every 12 inches.
2. Fig. to determine or fix something, such as a date, an agreement, an amount of money, a decision, etc. It will be ready sometime next month. I can't pin the date down just yet, however. I can't pin down the exact date just now.
See also: down, pin

pin down

1. Fix or establish clearly, as in The firefighters finally were able to pin down the source of the odor. [Mid-1900s]
2. Force someone to give precise information or opinions, as in The reporter pinned down the governor on the issue of conservation measures. [c. 1700]
See also: down, pin

pin down

1. To secure or fasten something using a pin or pins: The tailor pinned down the patch before sewing it on. I pinned my tie down to stop it from flapping in the wind.
2. To render someone or something immobile by or as if by holding down: We pinned down the tarp with four heavy rocks. They pinned me down on the table while the doctor removed the bullet from my leg. The platoon was pinned down by heavy machine-gun fire.
3. To establish something clearly: Doctors finally pinned down the cause of the disease. I had a strange feeling about the old house, but I couldn't pin it down.
4. To compel someone to give firm opinions or precise information: The reporter pinned the governor down on the issue of raising taxes. The newspaper tried to pin down the candidates on their positions regarding capital punishment.
See also: down, pin
References in periodicals archive ?
The ISM new order index may have just been an aberration due to low returns in August and other factors hard to pin down.
Green and Tao are now trying to pin down the location of prime arithmetic progressions more precisely.
There's a story in this picture, as there is in each one and in the group as a whole, but because of Baran's ambiguous position both inside the story and out, at an angle to the image and yet facing it straight on, it's partly a story about not being able to pin down just what the story really is.
Sedna is now too close to the sun for a good view from Earth, but next fall Brown's team plans to monitor the body for a full night to pin down its rotation speed.
Rich in description and allusions (history, geography, rock bands), Chang's demented dialogue was also highly structured, in almost musical fashion, with constant repetitions and variations - making the language as difficult to pin down as the elusive Chang himself.
Increasingly, scientists are trying to pin down the physical mechanisms that might be at work.
Consequently, it is difficult to pin down an exact estimate of these losses.
To pin down the link between gout and dietary purine, Hyon K.
From yesterday to todaFy, we've been trying to pin down the numbers.
The visual images - an angry man encased in tubes, a two-headed, masked figure, an 18th-century dandy, among others - were also difficult to pin down.
Therefore, while the findings solidify the link between lupus and atherosclerosis, she says, they don't pin down inflammation as its cause.
Calleguas General Manager Don Kendall said the water district still was trying to pin down precisely what caused the 4:20 p.
Thwarted in my attempts to pin down, to explain Perlman's proceedings, I realized that one cannot grasp that slippery thing called art.
Further studies with the Sloan data may help pin down the physical traits of the still-elusive dark energy, Frieman notes.