Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pin v.

1. in senses of ‘pricking’.

(a) of a man, to have sexual intercourse; thus take the pin v., of a woman, to have sexual intercourse [note pin n. (1a)].

[UK]J. Heywood Four P.P. in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 37: But prick them and pin them as nice as ye will, And yet will they look for pinning still.
[US]R.H. Rimmer Harrad Experiment 48: ‘Why didn’t you pin her and get it over with?’ [...] ‘I’ve got principles. I’m not using my pin to seduce virgins.’.

(b) (US teen) to stab.

[US]H. Ellison ‘I’ll Bet You a Death’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 37: Pin him with your switchblade.

2. in senses of pin down.

(a) to snatch, to steal.

[UK]Carlisle in Jesse George Selwyn (1843) II 340: I am sure they intended to pin my money, but I disappointed them.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

(b) to seize, to catch, to arrest.

[Ire] ‘Luke Caffrey’s Ghost’ in Chap Book Songs 2: You know, in Ram-alley, dey pin’d him.
[UK]M. Leeson Memoirs (1995) III 162: The unfortunate Misset was accordingly pinned and lodged in the Sheriffs Gaol.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 258: You are pinned at last.
[Aus]‘A. Pendragon’ Queen of the South 40: [of a dog] ‘Sh– I thought I heard a footstep.’ ‘Never mind,’ said Wilson, ‘Smasher’ll pin him.’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 105: Bull hung his ears and pawed uncomfortably in a puddle [...] as though in his heart resenting being ‘pinned’ after this fashion.
[UK]Paisley Herald 21 May 2/6: One of the young men rushed out and pinned him, and a police constable [...] secured [him].
Liverpool Mail 5 Sept. 6/5: ’It’s getting hot as h—ll round here, I’ll have to cut or they’ll pin me’.
[UK]A. Quiller-Couch True Tilda 57: [of a dog] Dolph’ll wait by you an’ see you come to no ’arm. Understand, Dolph? I’m goin’ inside for a minute [...] but if anybody touches Arthur Miles you pin ’im!
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Pin, to accuse; to implicate.
[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 236: He just began to hand the package to her when they pinned him.

(c) to obtain something from someone.

[UK] ‘The Wide Awake Club’ in Bentley’s Misc. Feb. 209: My eye! how precious drunk he made Snatch’em, the bum, and I, one night as we pinned him coming home in his cab from the Opera to give a champaign supper at The Clarendon.

3. to pawn clothes [? SE pawn].

[UK]Referee in Ware (1909) 197/1: When Lantier was doing up his bundle to send to the pawnbroker’s, one intelligent pittite shouted out ‘Pin!’ Evidently that pittite knew something.

4. in senses of ‘keeping one’s eyes pinned’.

(a) (Aus.) to target someone for one’s (often amatory) attentions.

[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 41: I ain’t never seen her pin anybody th’ way she pinned you jus’ now.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 86: Out of the corner of my eye I saw him pinning me.

(b) to mark down visually, to notice.

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: Pin ... To look.
[US]Mad mag. May–June 20: So old Romeo, if they didn’t pin him Romeo, / Would still be the end.
[US]K. Kolb Getting Straight 3: I pinned you for a head, man.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 36: That redhead white ’ho at the bar is pinning you.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 270: They pinned him as a cop right away.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 238: Chucky was pinned by Scotland Yard as having an outstanding Interpol warrant.

(c) (US black) to stare at (aggressively).

[US]E. Hunter ‘Vicious Circle’ Jungle Kids (1967) 34: He [...] pinned me with his eyes again.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 254: I can clock you, I can pin you.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: pin v. 1. to stare.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 87: Honky Tonk pinned as the cat moved in / And measured him up for size.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 109: He pauses [...] pinning me hard. Got a good psychotic mad dog.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 165: I look over at Phil [...] pin Abe for a second, and say, ‘Twenty on delivery.’.

(d) (US black) to draw someone else’s attention to, to point out.

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: pin v. [...] 2. to see. 3. to call someone’s attention to.

(e) (US) to identify.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972) 150: pin [...] Catch someone doing something and blame him for it.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 43: Kenny [...] was curious about how Solly pinned him.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 8: A kid with tattoos like that. If he had any kind of rap sheet at all, and you knew he did, he could be pinned in a minute.

(f) (US prison) of a female prisoner, to act as a lookout.

[US]Ward & Kassebaum Women’s Prison 100: The usual practice is for lovers to utilize a [...] a trusted inmate to act as a lookout, referred to as pinning.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 40: Pin is also used as a verb. ‘Will you pin for us while we smoke this joint?’.

5. (Aus./US) to cause trouble for, to ‘do down’.

[UK]C. Stead Seven Poor Men of Sydney 122: A poor man [...] never ’as anything but a poor, miserable, wretched, untidy, un’appy life. They don’t let ’im even be honest or ’ave a friend, if some one wants to pin ’im.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 54: To pin someone, to have someone ‘set’, to have a grudge against a person.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 157/2: Pin. To cause indictment and conviction, justly or unjustly; to stigmatize; to make a rap stick.

6. (US) to knock out [? wrestling imagery].

[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 284: He didn’t pin ’im.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 142: I’ve seen him take on a professional twice his size at a carnival and not only stay in for the three minutes to win the twenty-five skins but pin him.

7. (US) to come to terms with, to work out.

[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 3: Jackson if you ever pin it your knowledge box will bust wide open.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 185: You know what Im gonna do, man, when I really get to pinning this scene.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 98: I was the only pledge to pin that phony tribunal.

8. (US campus) to state one’s commitment to a person of the opposite sex by giving them one’s fraternity pin.

[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 4: I’m pinned.
[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 77: You have your Moondoggie and you’re pinned.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

pin a rose (v.)

(US short order) to put a slice of onion on a hamburger.

[US]Charleston (WV) Daily Mail 9 Oct. 8/8: This is the fantastic jargon of the soda jerkers: [...] ‘pin a rose’ is to place a slice of onion on a hamburger.
pin back one’s ears (v.)

see under ear n.1

pin back one’s lugholes (v.)

see under lughole n.

pin on (v.) [SE pin on, to attach]

to accuse, to lay the blame on someone.

[US]W. Scott ‘Take ’Im Alive’ Und. Mag. May [Internet] You can’t pin this on me in court—you can’t prove it.
[US]B. Cerf Anything For a Laugh 141: No dame has been able to pin anything on me since I was ten months old!
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 56: No one has ever pinned anything on him.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 127: You finally got a chance to pin something on me, huh.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 88: The only thing we can pin on this kid right now.
[US] Ice-T ‘Six in the Morning’ [lyrics] This shit was for real / This was no La-Di-Da-Di / Cause the boys had to pin the shit on somebody.
[US]P. Cornwell Point of Origin (1999) 86: Don’t even consider pinning this on me.
[UK]N. Griffiths Sheepshagger 238: Whatever they think they might just be able to fuckin pin on yew they’ll fuckin do it.
pin one on (v.) (also pin a few on)

(US/Aus.) to have a drink.

[US]H.L. Wilson Somewhere in Red Gap 21: Right off I could tell they’d been pinning a few on.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 42: ‘What is this pin one on, Joe?’ ‘Knock one back. Gunna ’ave a drink?’.
pin the basket (v.)

to bring things to a head.

[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 139: Her greatest fault [...] is her violent attachment to drinking; she generally contrives to pin her basket completely by nine o’clock; then she swears most abominably.
pin them

(US campus) an instruction to stop talking.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 4: pin ’em – be quiet: John, pin ’em!