The noun is derived from pin +‎ cushion.[1] The verb is derived from the noun.[2]



pincushion (plural pincushions)

  1. (stitching) A tool, initially like a small, stuffed cushion, designed to have stitching pins and needles caught into it to retailer them safely; some fashionable pincushions maintain the objects magnetically.
    • 1671, [Richard Head], “He’s Sure Prentice to a Taylor, the Knavery of that Commerce, His Grasp of a Sew, He’s Flip’d over to a Baker, who Misusing Him He Runeth Away”, in The English Rogue: Continued within the Lifetime of Meriton Latroon, and Different Extravagants. [] The Second Half. [], London: Printed for Francis Kirkman, [], OCLC 612728320; republished [London: s.n., 1874?], OCLC 946732922, web page 113:

      Then for womens cloaths, the cabadge of cloath of ſilver, brancht Sattin, and the like, went for pin-cuſhions, pin-pillows, womens purſes; and if black, Church-wardens capes.

    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], “The Creator Permitted to See the Grand Academy of Lagado. []”, in Travels into A number of Distant Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], quantity II, London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], OCLC 995220039, half III (A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdribb, Luggnagg, and Japan), web page 70:

      Some had been condenſing Air right into a dry tangible Subſtance, by extracting the Nitre, and letting the aqueous or fluid Particles percolate; others ſoftening Marble for Pillows or Pincuſhions; others petrifying the Hoofs of a dwelling Horſe to preſerve them from foundring.

    • 1749, [attributed to John Cleland], The Case of the Unlucky Bosavern Penlez, London: Printed for T. Clement [], OCLC 519483550, web page 12:

      And if, wiſely, or taught by Expertise, ſhe [a prostitute] has ſunk any Half [of the money], by hiding it, ſuppose in a Pincuſhion, ripp’d and ſew’d up once more, or in her Hair, […] and is discovered, it muſt be pleaſant sufficient to listen to the conſcientious Pandar exclaiming, and crying Vengeance againſt her, for Perfidiouſneſs, and Breach of Truſt.
    • 1791 June 1, John Eire, “The Harlot’s Progress. Plate I.”, in Hogarth Illustrated, quantity I, [London]: J[ohn] & J[osiah] Boydell [], OCLC 863384324, pages 4–5:

      From the inn she is taken to the home of the procuress, divested of her home-spun garb, and dressed within the gayest model of the day; her pincushion and scissars discarded for an etwee and watch, and the tender native hue of her complexion incrusted with paint, and disguised by patches.

    • 1793 September, “Essay on a Pincushion. Addressed to Miss Hales.”, in The Girl’s Journal; or, Entertaining Companion for the Honest Intercourse, Appropriated Solely to Their Use and Amusement, quantity XXIV, London: Printed for G. G. J. & J. Robinson, [], OCLC 1078157316, pages 489–490, column 1:

      Absolutely, man is a pincuſhion.— […] He muſt, as different pincuſhions, (whether or not within the type of a coronary heart, an oval, or an rectangular ſquare,) be fashioned by the ingenuity, and faſhioned by the judgment of ſome ſkilful feminine. How nice an analogy is there between man and a pincuſhion. The one fed with grain, the opposite with the huſks of it. Because the bran is preſſed into the pincuſhion by the ſlender fingers of the deſigning feminine, ſo are new rules, new concepts, and new affections, diffuſed into the thoughts, and inculcated within the breaſt, by the highly effective charms of the uſurping maid.

    • 1820, Theresa Tidy [pseudonym; Elizabeth Susannah Davenport Graham], chapter VIII, in Eighteen Maxims of Neatness and Order. [], 10th version, London: Printed for J[ohn] Hatchard and Son, [], OCLC 504076104, web page 22:

      It is usually expedient to hold about you a handbag, a thimble, a pincushion, a pencil, a knife, and a pair of scissars, which won’t solely be an inexpressible supply of consolation and independence, by eradicating the need of borrowing, however will safe the privilege of not lending these indispensable gadgets.

    • [1824?], T. King, “Lovers Quarrels; or, Like Grasp Like Man: An Interlude, in One Act. Altered from ‘The Mistake’ of Sir John Vanbrugh, by T. King.”, in The Choose London Stage; a Assortment of the Most Reputed Tragedies, Comedies, Operas, Melo-dramas, Farces, and Interludes. [], London: G. Balne, [], OCLC 829291109, Act I, scene iii, web page 5, column 2:

      Right here, take thy satin pincushion, with thy curious half-hundred of pins in it, that you simply made such a vapouring about yesterday; inform them fastidiously, there’s not one wanting.

    • 1828 Might 15, [Walter Scott], chapter VII, in Chronicles of the Canongate. Second Collection. […] In Three Volumes (The Honest Maid of Perth), quantity I, Edinburgh: Printed [by Ballantyne and Co.] for Cadell and Co.; London: Simpkin and Marshall, OCLC 17487293, pages 191–192:

      He was accompanied by the sincere Bonnet-maker, who, being, because the reader is conscious, slightly spherical man, had planted himself like a pin-cushion, (for he was wrapped in a scarlet cloak, over which he had slung a hawking-pouch,) on the highest of a fantastic saddle, which he is perhaps mentioned moderately to be perched upon than to bestride.

    • 1905 January 12, Baroness Orczy [i.e., Emma Orczy], “An Beautiful of ’92”, in The Scarlet Pimpernel, standard version, London: Greening & Co., printed 20 March 1912, OCLC 235822313, web page 58:

      Do you suppose I’m going to permit my physique to be made a pincushion of, by each little frog-eater who don’t love the form of your nostril?

    • 1920, John Galsworthy, “Soames Entertains the Future”, in In Chancery, London: William Heinemann, OCLC 312632, half I, pages 87–88:

      Going as much as the dressing-table he handed his hand over the lilac-coloured pincushion, into which had been caught all types of pins; a bowl of pot-pourri exhaled a scent that made his head flip just a bit.

    • 1923, Compton Mackenzie, “The First Sermon”, in The Parson’s Progress, London; New York, N.Y.: Cassell and Firm, OCLC 2004982, web page 24:

      All our silly little paper-knives and pincushions have their origin within the gold and myrrh and frankincense that the three smart males dropped at that lowly secure in Bethlehem.

    • 1967, Mildred Allen Butler, Twice Queen of France: Anne of Brittany, New York, N.Y.: Funk & Wagnalls, OCLC 1435890; republished [s.l.]: Advert Stellae Books, 2013, web page 127:

      […] and, lastly, got here a platoon of footmen, bearing a big inexperienced coffer filled with mirrors, sponges, garments brushes with crimson velvet handles, pin cushions of crimson satin, combs, nightcaps—the whole lot that could possibly be considered for her consolation.

    • 1992 September, Herbert Keppler, “ Take a look at Your Lens”, in Standard Images, quantity 99, quantity 9, New York, N.Y.: Hachette Magazines, ISSN 0032-4582, OCLC 191705754, web page 51, column 2:

      Sure, at two or extra f-stops smaller than most aperture there needs to be a acquire in sharpness, notably within the corners. Is it sharp sufficient to fulfill you? Study the horizontal constructing strains. Do they bulge outwards, indicating barrel distortion, or inward (pincushion distortion)?

    • 1997, Robert J. Parelli, “Picture Intensifier System”, in Ideas of Fluoroscopic Picture Intensification and Tv Methods: Workbook and Laboratory Guide, Delray Seashore, Fla.: GR/St. Lucie Press, →ISBN, web page 13:

      Pincushion distortion is a type of spatial distortion that warps the looks of the picture. It’s a consequence of projecting the picture fashioned on a curved enter phosphor to a flat output phosphor. Pincushion distortion leads to barely increased magnification of the enter picture towards the sting of the picture.

    • 2012, S. V. Bodle, “Hiding Place”, in Planet Treasure Guardians: Hunt for the Emberteller, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, web page 75:

      Unaware of what she was doing, Skyla gripped Ladek’s arm. For somebody who bit her nails, they had been remarkably sharp, and inside seconds he felt like a pin cushion.

  2. The names of varied vegetation with flowers or different components resembling a pincushion.
    1. A flowering plant within the genus Leucospermum.
      • 2008, Fred Van Dyke, “Biodiversity Conservation and Local weather Change”, in Conservation Biology: Foundations, Ideas, Functions, 2nd version, Dordrecht: Springer Science+Enterprise Media, →ISBN, part 5.5.2 (Local weather Change-Built-in Methods for Conservation), web page 143:

        [S]ee how the information of the local weather tolerances of 1 South African shrub, the Saldana pincushion (Leucospermum tomentosum) is built-in with projections of a world circulation mannequin utilized to the southern tip of South Africa […].
    2. A flowering plant within the genus Scabiosa.
      • 1950 October, S. L. Emsweller, “Scabiosa”, in Rising Annual Flowering Vegetation (U.S. Division of Agriculture Farmers’ Bulletin; no. 1171), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Authorities Printing Workplace, OCLC 11849443, web page 21:

        Scabiosa, typically referred to as mourning bride, pincushion flower, and candy scabious, is an simply grown, old school, half-hardy annual. It is rather enticing and passable each for slicing and for borders and beds.

    3. The coral bead plant, coral moss, or English child tears (Nertera granadensis), a decorative plant.
    4. The dustymaiden, a flowering plant within the genus Chaenactis.
      • 1989 April, Janice Emily Bowers, “Fremont Pincushion”, in 100 Desert Wildflowers of the Southwest, Tucson, Ariz.: Southwest Parks and Monuments Affiliation, printed January 1998 (fifth printing), →ISBN:

        An considerable wildflower following good winter rains, Fremont pincushion [Chaenactis fremontii] options heads composed totally of white or pinkish disk flowers.
      • 1999, Janice Emily Bowers, “Vegetation by Blossom Shade”, in Flowers and Shrubs of the Mojave Desert, Tucson, Ariz.: Southwest Parks and Monuments Affiliation, →ISBN, web page 46:

        Pebble pincushion [Chaenactis carphoclinia], a fragile annual wildflower with deeply divided leaves, has white or pinkish flowers crowded into heads. If the heads resemble pincushions, then the stamens poking out of the flowers should characterize the pins.
    5. The pincushion cactus, of the genera Escobaria or Mammillaria.
      • 1990, “Sheephole/Cadiz: CDCA 305”, in California Statewide Wilderness Examine Report, quantity 5, half 4, Washington, D.C.; Sacramento, Calif.: Bureau of Land Administration, OCLC 58859891, web page 5:

        Alverson’s pincushion cactus (Coryophantha vivipara var. alversonii), below standing assessment by the USF&WS for doable itemizing as threatened or endangered, is reported to happen the alongside the northwest boundary of the WSA.

    6. The pincushionplant, a flowering plant within the genus Navarretia.
      • 2018, Eva Begley, “Flowering Vegetation: Dicotyledons”, in Vegetation of Northern California: A Area Information to Vegetation West of the Sierra Nevada, Lanham, Md.: Falcon Guides, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, →ISBN, web page 267, column 2:

        Marigold pincushion [Navarretia tagetina], nonetheless, is widespread all through the area besides alongside the coast. […] In japanese Sacramento County, it grows along with downy pincushion (Navarretia pubescens) in small clearings in blue oak woodland.
  3. (figuratively, colloquial) An individual who’s pricked or stabbed a number of instances with sharp objects; particularly, somebody who receives common hypodermic needle injections.

    Insulin-dependent diabetics are human pincushions.

    • 1922 Might–October, John Edwin Hogg, “Searching Wild Goats by Seaplane”, in The Vast World Journal: An Illustrated Month-to-month of True Narrative, Journey, Journey, Customs, and Sport, quantity XLIX, London: George Newnes, Ltd. [], OCLC 1696560, web page 192, column 2:

      It took an hour to get there, and by the point the job was achieved we had collected so many cactus thorns that we felt like human pincushions.

    • 1997, Catherine Coulter, chapter 15, in The Maze, New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnams Sons, →ISBN; republished New York, N.Y.: Berkeley Publishing Group,, 2011, →ISBN:

      Humorous factor how her capturing him saved his life. In case you hadn’t referred to as a fast halt, the cops would have turned him right into a human pincushion.

    • 1998, Mildred (Barry) Friedman, “On Being a Human Pincushion”, in Power and Compassion in Kidney Failure: Writings of Mildred (Barry) Friedman, Skilled Kidney Affected person, Dordrecht; Boston, Mass.: Kluwer Educational Publishers, →ISBN, web page 196:

      Oh sure, I’m actually a pincushion. In all probability pierced extra regularly than pincushions which do not belong to individuals who sew for a dwelling. You see, I am a working towards diabetic. Docs and different members of my Well being Care Crew inform me I’ve acquired to maintain my blood sugar degree within the regular vary and that with a view to do this three insulin photographs a day and a minimal of three blood sugar checks every day, are referred to as for. Simple for them to say. I get to be the pincushion.

    • 2007, Arden Moore, “Half I: Feeling Fantastic about Being Feline”, in Lisa H. Hiley, editor, The Cat Habits Reply Ebook, North Adams, Mass.: Storey Publishing, →ISBN, web page 31:

      Some cats can go slightly overboard, although. Some drool whereas kneading, and others change into so enthusiastic that they drive their sharp claws into human legs. In case your cat is popping you right into a pincushion and common nail clipping periods aren’t making it much less painful for you, you possibly can cease this conduct from turning into an disagreeable behavior by merely standing up and strolling away.

    • 2011, Belinda A. Hart Love, “The Hospital”, in Dealing with My Mom’s Stroke: A Daughter’s Story, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, web page 53:

      One factor that actually irritated me about my mom being within the hospital is that she turned a dwelling pincushion. Her arms had been black and blue throughout from IV strains and blood attracts.

Different types[edit]

Derived phrases[edit]



pincushion (third-person singular easy current pincushions, current participle pincushioning, easy previous and previous participle pincushioned)

  1. (transitive, additionally figuratively) To jab or stick repeatedly with a number of sharp objects, as with pins right into a pincushion.

    The goal was pincushioned with arrows.

    • [1853, [Anne Marsh-Caldwell], chapter XVI, in The Longwoods of the Grange. […] In Three Volumes, quantity I, London: Hurst and Blackett, publishers, successors to Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 56487135, pages 290 and 291–292:

      [page 290] Then Esther could be continually making us little presents; little pin-cushions, and purses, and such like, which it was inconceivable to refuse. […] [W]e had some very positive outdated lace, which had belonged to our mom, and we agreed that we’d give this to Esther. […] [pages 291–292] When the transaction got here to Aunt Dorothy’s information, she was very indignant certainly; and mentioned that we had been “two fools to be pin-cushioned out of our mom’s outdated level, which had been in our household ever so lengthy.

    • 1860 January–June, W[illiam] M[akepeace] Thackeray, “A Black Sheep”, in Lovel the Widower, London: Smith, Elder and Co., [], printed 1861, OCLC 3567262, web page 146:

      As I noticed Girl Baker hanging around her son’s neck, and fondling his scanty ringlets, I remembered the terrible tales with which in former days she used to entertain us concerning this reprobate. Her coronary heart was pincushioned together with his filial crimes.

    • [1876 November, “F.” [pseudonym], “The Flower Backyard as It’s This Yr as a Information to What It’s to be Subsequent”, in D. T. Fish, editor, The Villa Gardener, London: [] Advantage & Co., OCLC 504106007, web page 348, column 1:

      Once more, the double Lobelia is to not be trusted in a row the place uniformity of color is a object. […] Its place is pincushioned amongst such delicate flowers as Ivy-leaved Pelargoniums and Duke of Edinburgh, the grand tufts of flowers having a chaste and charming impact among the many stunning foliage and delightful flowers of such delicate colors, and the failures being little noticed.

    • 2001 January, Peter Brandvold, chapter 4, in The Romantics, New York, N.Y.: Forge Books, →ISBN; 1st mass market version, New York, N.Y.: Forge Books, Tom Doherty Associates, March 2002, →ISBN, web page 40:

      Lester and his two boys, Ray and Steve, lay within the ranchyard pincushioned with arrows.

    • 2005 September, Tom Robbins, “The Day the Earth Spit Warthogs”, in Wild Geese Flying Backward: The Brief Writings of Tom Robbins, New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books, →ISBN, web page 39; 1st commerce paperback version, New York, N.Y.: Bantam Dell, September 2006, →ISBN:

      Nicely, of us, to not fear. First, I used to be stuffed to the gullet with malaria prophylactics and pincushioned with inoculations in opposition to probably the most prevalent tropical maladies […]

    • 2013, Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband, London: Pan Books, →ISBN, pages 87–88:

      Why hadn’t I ever thought of the extraordinarily agonizing spikiness of a Christmas tree? The vicious needles pincushioned my arms and the tree wobbled precariously as I scrabbled for a pain-free maintain.

  2. (intransitive) To imagine the form of a pincushion; particularly, of the picture on a pc show, tv, and so on., to exhibit pincushion distortion, the place the edges curve inwards.
    • 2001, Michael Byrd; Jim Pearson; Robert A. Saigh, “Graphics”, in Handbook of Laptop Troubleshooting, Chicago, Unwell.; London: Glenlake Publishing Firm; Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, →ISBN, web page 206:

      A monitor is pincushioning when the show seems to have curved sides.

    • 2009, Frederick Menick, “The Nasal Defect – Understanding the Problem”; “Restoring Contour – Recreating a Subsurface Structure”, in Nasal Reconstruction: Artwork and Follow, [Edinburgh]: Mosby Elsevier, →ISBN, pages 42 and 282:

      [page 42] Flaps, nonetheless, ‘pin cushion’ and develop a convex type as they contract. For that reason, flaps are greatest used to resurface convex surfaces. A pores and skin graft is greatest for planar or concave recipient websites. […] [page 282] Because the flap contracts, it pin cushions. This trapdoor impact can contribute to a convex form.
    • 2011 June, Mary Tschoi; Erik A. Hoy; Mark S. Granick, “Pores and skin Flaps”, in Deborah S. Hickman Mathis, visitor editor; Nancy Girard, editor, Perioperative Nursing Clinics: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical procedure, quantity 6, quantity 2, Philadelphia, Pa.: W. B. Saunders Firm, Elsevier, →ISBN, ISSN 1556-7931, web page 180:

      A round island flap could pin-cushion. This complication could be prevented with correct planning.


  1. ^ “pincushion, n.”, in OED On-line Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford College Press, June 2006; “pincushion, n.” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford College Press.
  2. ^ “pincushion, v.”, in OED On-line Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford College Press, June 2006.

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