AskDefine | Define pinion

Dictionary Definition



1 a gear with a small number of teeth designed to mesh with a larger wheel or rack
2 any of the larger wing or tail feathers of a bird [syn: flight feather, quill, quill feather]
3 wing of a bird [syn: pennon]


1 bind the arms of [syn: shackle]
2 cut the wings off (of birds)

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈpɪnjən/

Etymology 1


  1. A wing.
  2. The joint of a bird's wing farthest from the body
  3. The outermost primary feathers on a bird's wing.
    • , III.xii
      An argument that he is pluck'd, when hither / He sends so poor a pinion of his wing ...


  1. To remove the joint of a bird's wing farthest from the body to prevent the bird from flying.
  2. To restrain by binding or holding the arms.
    • , V.ii
      Know, sir that I / Will not wait piniond at your master's court, / Nor once be chastis'd with the sober eye / Of dull Octavia.
    • 1916, James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Macmillan Press Ltd, paperback, page 80
      Nash pinioned his arms behind while Boland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gutter.

Etymology 2


  1. The smallest gear in a gear drive train.

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A pinion is usually the smallest gear in a gear drive train. In many cases, such as remote controlled toys, the pinion is also the drive gear. In the case of John Blenkinsop's The Salamanca the pinion was rather large.
The term is also commonly used to describe the smaller gear that drives in a 90-degree angle towards a crown gear in a differential drive.


1. ANSI/AGMA 1012-G05, "Gear Nomenclature, Definition of Terms with Symbols".
2. in the case of radio controlled cars with an engine (i.e. nitro) this pinion gear can be referred to as a "Clutch bell"
pinion in German: Antriebsritzel
pinion in Spanish: Piñón (mecanismo)
pinion in French: Pignon (mécanique)
pinion in Japanese: スプロケット

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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