Many cars use rack-and-pinion steering, in which the steering wheel turns a small-toothed pinion gear, which engages the larger rack that turns the car's wheels.

Pinions make steering easy and smooth. Pinion, in the sense of a gear, comes from Middle French peignon, which comes in turn from the Latin noun pecten, "comb," reflecting the toothed appearance of a pinion.

Primary Meanings of pinion

wing of a bird
cut the wings off (of birds)
a gear with a small number of teeth designed to mesh with a larger wheel or rack
Full Definitions of pinion

n wing of a bird

Type of:
a movable organ for flying (one of a pair)

n any of the larger wing or tail feathers of a bird

flight feather, quill, quill feather
primary, primary feather, primary quill
one of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird's wing
tail feather
feather growing from the tail (uropygium) of a bird
sickle feather
one of the long curved tail feathers of a rooster
Type of:
feather, plumage, plume
the light horny waterproof structure forming the external covering of birds

v cut the wings off (of birds)

Type of:
disable, disenable, incapacitate
make unable to perform a certain action

v bind the arms of

Type of:
confine, hold, restrain
to close within bounds, limit or hold back from movement

n a gear with a small number of teeth designed to mesh with a larger wheel or rack

lantern pinion, lantern wheel
a small pinion having cylindrical bars instead of teeth, used chiefly in inexpensive clocks
Type of:
cogwheel, gear, gear wheel, geared wheel
a toothed wheel that engages another toothed mechanism in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion

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