pin·cer (pĭnsər) also pinch·er (pĭnsər)
a. often pincers or pinchers A grasping tool having two parts hinged together to work in opposition.
b. One of the opposing parts in such a tool.
a. A claw resembling such a tool, as of a lobster or scorpion; a chela.
b. pincers or pinchers A pair of mandibles or other appendages used by certain arthropods for grasping, as the cerci of an earwig.
3. A military maneuver in which an enemy force is attacked from two flanks and the front.
[Middle English pinsours, pincers, from Anglo-Norman pynceour, from pincer, to pinch; see PINCH.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.