early 14c., "tool for grasping or nipping, having two hinged jaws which can be firmly closed and held together," from Old French pinceure "pincers, tongs," from pincier "to pinch" (see pinch (v.)). Applied to insect or crustacean parts from 1650s. Related: Pincer. The military pincer movement is attested by 1929.
updated on June 15, 2020