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Pedants' corner

Pin or pin number?

20 replies

FunnyLittleFrog · 03/10/2008 15:24

I always thought that the acronym pin was formed from the words personal identification number. So is it then wrong to talk about having a pin number? Everyone uses the term and it's even in The Guardian Book of English Language as correct!

OP posts:
Habbibu · 03/10/2008 15:27

Technically it's PIN, but it seems rather artificial to say just "pin", so I guess idiomatically Pin number works better in English. Language isn't always logical - one of its joys.

Tommy · 03/10/2008 15:27

at Guardian

I suppose it is one of those words which has become part of the language as it develops. It's like when people say "SAT tests" - not necessary at all but just the way it has evolved

MrsBadger · 03/10/2008 15:27

you're right

fight it

PigeonPie · 04/10/2008 22:09

Maybe it should be a Pi number, but that would be 3.1414952...

MarjorieIsMyMessiah · 04/10/2008 22:10

Much as in America, they say "ATM machine" - guess what the last M stands for

TrinityRhino · 04/10/2008 22:10

I HATE it with a passion
It is not right to say PIN number

I am shocked to hear it is written somewhere as being correct

TisNotChristmasYetSaysSquonk · 04/10/2008 22:11

I always use PIN and don't use the word "number" afterwards.

But I don't correct people who do, so I suppose I'm guilty of letting it slide...

TrinityRhino · 04/10/2008 22:13

I have never been able to correct someone

I have felt guilty that I haven't

sheesh I need to get out more

AuraofDora · 04/10/2008 22:14

yeah but yeah but
wont peeps think you are blethering on about sewing or some such

lol pigeon pie..

TisNotChristmasYetSaysSquonk · 04/10/2008 22:18


next time I'm at the PIN machine, when they ask me to input my pin, I shall remove my miniature sewing kit and try to force a small sharp sewing implement into the slot.

just for a laaarff

CherryChapstick · 04/10/2008 22:19

I was once corrected for saying "MOT Test". But it is an MOT test though!

TrinityRhino · 04/10/2008 22:21

well what does mot stand for
i'm not sure tbh

edam · 04/10/2008 22:22

Good point, Squonk.

TisNotChristmasYetSaysSquonk · 04/10/2008 22:23

MOT test is correct.

Ministry Of Transport test

edam · 04/10/2008 22:23

Isn't it Ministry of Transport?

CherryChapstick · 04/10/2008 22:25

Yes, so it is test.

FunnyLittleFrog · 08/10/2008 13:47

Glad to see that I'm not the only one irked by this!

Didn't know that MOT stood for Ministry of Transport either so it's been a worthwhile exercise all round!

OP posts:
Tigerschick · 08/10/2008 14:00

This really annoys me, too.
But it is so common; as Habbibu says, lanugage isn't alway logical.

It's like when people say 'SCUBA diving' - the SCUBA bit is the 'Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus' so we should say 'diving with a SCUBA'. But we don't, it's now part of the vernacular.

Simplysally · 15/10/2008 22:25

I didn't know that (about scuba) - that's something I've learnt today.

DadInsteadofMum · 16/10/2008 14:24

Trying getting communications from Barclays that talk about your personal PIN number!

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