pin (one) 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 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

v.
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 ?
But the 32-year-old suspect Reynaldo Destacamento insisted on his innocence, saying the police made him a sacrificial lamb so they could pin someone down in the killing.
There will be times when you can't pin someone down, but at least you're being presented with new and better options.
Speaking from an opposition research perspective, if you wanted to pin someone down on their extreme views on Social Security, you would have to go to, you know, the University of Texas video archive and find the debate from his first state house campaign where he gives this outrageous quote on Social Security," Judd Legum, the research director for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, tells Politico.
Take confinement for instance, if you're locked up that immediately has a choreographic result - say if you don't let somebody move across the space or if you pin someone down.
Lennon is no Tim Russert, trying to pin someone down.
Experience has shown that the more systems required to establish contact, the harder it becomes to actually pin someone down for collaboration or knowledge sharing.