"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


A pinner was a woman's cap with two long flaps or lappets pinned on, worn in the 17th and 18th centuries.

A pinner can also be the 'agent noun' from the word pin, simply meaning one who pins.

But the context in which I came across it recently did not fit either of these definitions. So when I checked it out further I discovered that in days gone by a pinner was a sort of constable who impounded stray animals until their owner could be found. The animals would be held in a pinfold - a small enclosure, usually walled, some of which remain in scattered English villages.

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