One important folkloric function of pins is to symbolize attack. Witches were regularly suspected of using them in their destructive *image magic, and of mysteriously introducing them into the bodies of their victims, who would then vomit them. The crew of a fishing smack, in the 1880s, were dismayed when a pinned-up parcel was brought aboard; the captain dropped the pins overboard one by one, at arm's length, explaining they were 'spiteful witches', and all subsequent misfortunes in that trip were blamed on the pins (N&Q 7s:4 (1887), 165-6).
   Pins were also much used in aggressive *counterspells by those who thought themselves bewitched (see *hearts and pins, *witch bottles). In the fiercely worded love charm involving an animal *blade-bone, pins were sometimes used instead of a knife to prick the bone, and there are tales from East Yorkshire and from Derbyshire of girls driving pins into a live frog as part of a charm to force a man to marry them (Hole, 1973: 90). They also serve as a medium of magical transference, for example when rubbed over a *wart and then stuck in the ground, so that someone may tread on them and 'catch' the wart.
   Pins were popular offerings in holy *wells and *wishing wells, though now *coins are more usual; when so used, they were generally bent.
   The best-known belief about finding pins is expressed in the rhyme (first recorded in 1842 and still current):
   See a pin and pick it up,
   All the day you'll have good luck;
   See a pin and let it lay,
   You'll have bad luck all the day.
   ■ Opie and Tatem, 1989: 309-12.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pins — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Arthur de Pins (* 1977), französischer Comiczeichner Emil Pins (1847–1913), österreichischer Mediziner Jacob Pins (1917–2005), deutsch israelischer Maler Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsk …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pins — Pins, 1) Odo von P., 1297–1300 Großmeister des Johanniterordens. 2) Gerard von P., 1316, vicarirender Großmeister. 3) Roger von P., 1355–65 Großmeister …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pins — Pins, Ile des (spr. ihl dä päng), Fichten , Kiefern oder Pinieninsel, Kunié, franz. Insel, zum Gouv. Neukaledonien gehörig, 160 qkm, 635 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • PINS — Persons in need of supervision Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations …   Law dictionary

  • Pins — (île des) île franç. du Pacifique, située à 50 km au nord ouest de la Nouvelle Calédonie, dont elle dépend; 153 km²; 1 095 hab.; ch. l. Vao. île pénitentiaire pour les déportés de la Commune, de 1872 à 1879 …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pins — Pin (plante) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pins in It — Infobox Album | Name = Pins In It Type = Album Artist = The Human Instinct Background = lightsteelblue Released = 1971 Recorded = Mascot Studios, Auckland, May 1971 Genre = Blues rock Length = 44:07 Label = Pye Records Producer = John Kerr,… …   Wikipedia

  • pins — pɪn n. small needle; spike; prong, peg; metallic prong on a chip or electrical plug v. fasten with pins, attach with pins; stick, stab; confine, hold, immobilize …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pins — The ports on the back of your computer and an external modem will have pins. Each pin has a certain function, such as letting the computer know that the modem is online …   Dictionary of telecommunications

  • pins — n pl legs. The word was first recorded in this sense in 1530 when pin was synony mous with (wooden) peg. I m a bit unsteady on my pins …   Contemporary slang