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pin down

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phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theypin down
he/she/itpins down
present participlepinning down
past tensepinned down
past participlepinned down
  1. 2
    to understand or describe something exactly

    Officials are trying to pin down the cause of widespread power outages.

  2. 3
    to force someone to make a decision about something

    We finally pinned him down and got him to agree to a meeting.

  3. 4
    to keep soldiers in a place so that they cannot move

    The Allied armies had been pinned down by the Germans.

See also main entry: pin


used with other nouns to describe the unexpected and often unwanted effects of a particular situation or trend

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sandwich woman

a woman in middle age who has to juggle caring for teenage children and ageing parents with a career

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