A pincer is a device with a pair of levers that act to concentrate force on a point.


Pincers are hand tools used in many situations where a mechanical advantage is required to pinch, cut or pull an object. Pincers are first-class levers, but differ from pliers in that the concentration of force is either to a point, or to an edge perpendicular to the length of the tool. This allows pincers to be brought close to a surface, as is often required when working with nails. Carpenter's pincers are particularly suited to this task.


Many insects possess pincers to assist carrying loads, for defense from other creatures, or to attack prey. The pincers are usually part of the creature's mandible, and often venom or acid can be injected during a pincer strike.

Some arthropods such as crabs, lobsters and scorpions possess pincers in the form of claws at the ends of their front limbs, to assist in feeding, defense, or even courtship.

Military usage

A pincer movement is an attack where the enemy is approached from the two flanks and from the front. Examples include the Battle of El Mazuco (1937), the Battle of Sitka (1803), and the Battle of Cannae (216 BC).

See also

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