AskDefine | Define hairpin

Dictionary Definition

hairpin n : a double pronged pin used to hold women's hair in place

User Contributed Dictionary



A compound of hair + pin. The adjective form recalls the tight bend characteristic of a hairpin.


  • /ˈheɪrpɪn/


  1. Characterized by an abrupt or extreme bend; shaped like a hairpin.
    Drive carefully. That road has a lot of hairpin turns.



  1. A pin or fastener for the hair.


See also

Extensive Definition

Hairpin can mean:
  • A long device used to hold a person's hair in place: see below
  • Hairpin bend
  • A stem-loop in biochemistry.
A hair pin or hairpin is a long device used to hold a person's hair in place.
Hairpins made of metal, ivory, bronze, carved wood, etc. were used in ancient Assyria and Egypt for securing decorated hairstyles. Such hairpins suggest, as graves show, that many were luxury objects among the Egyptians and later Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans. Major success came in 1901 with the invention of the spiral hairpin by New Zealand inventor Ernest Godward. This was a predecessor of the hair clip.
The hairpin may be needle-like and encrusted with jewels and ornaments. It often may be more utiliarian—designed to be almost invisible after being inserted into the hairstyle.
Hairpins also may be constructed from different lengths of wire that are bent in half with a u-shaped end and a few kinks along the two opposite portions. The finished pin may vary from two to six inches in final length. The length of the wires enables placement in several styles of hairdos to hold the style in place. The kinks enable retaining the pin during normal movements.
See for a patent in 1925 by Kelly Chamandy.

Other meanings

The nature of the U-shaped end of this design gave rise to an adjective to describe a particularly tight 180-degree turn in a road or racetrack or ski-run: see hairpin turn.

See also

hairpin in German: Haarnadel
hairpin in Finnish: Hiusneula
hairpin in Tamil: கொண்டை ஊசி
hairpin in Dutch: Haarspeld

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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