In geometry, a **pinch point** or **cuspidal point** is a type of singular point on an algebraic surface.

The equation for the surface near a pinch point may be put in the form

f
(
u
,
v
,
w
)
=
u
2
−
v
w
2
+
[
4
]
where [4] denotes terms of degree 4 or more and
v
is not a square in the ring of functions.

For example the surface
1
−
2
x
+
x
2
−
y
z
2
=
0
near the point
(
1
,
0
,
0
)
, meaning in coordinates vanishing at that point, has the form above. In fact, if
u
=
1
−
x
,
v
=
y
and
w
=
z
then {
u
,
v
,
w
} is a system of coordinates vanishing at
(
1
,
0
,
0
)
then
1
−
2
x
+
x
2
−
y
z
2
=
(
1
−
x
)
2
−
y
z
2
=
u
2
−
v
w
2
is written in the canonical form.

The simplest example of a pinch point is the hypersurface defined by the equation
u
2
−
v
w
2
=
0
called Whitney umbrella.

The pinch point (in this case the origin) is a limit of normal crossings singular points (the
v
-axis in this case). These singular points are intimately related in the sense that in order to resolve the pinch point singularity one must blow-up the whole
v
-axis and not only the pinch point.