The lipin proteins are evolutionarily conserved proteins with roles in lipid metabolism and disease. There are three lipin protein family members in mammals and one or two orthologs in plants, invertebrates, and single-celled eukaryotes. Studies in yeast and mouse led to the identification of two distinct molecular functions of lipin proteins. Lipin proteins have phosphatidate phosphatase activity and catalyze the formation of diacylglycerol in the glycerol-3-phosphate pathway, implicating them in the regulation of triglyceride and phospholipid biosynthesis. Mammalian lipin proteins also possess transcriptional coactivator activity and have been implicated in the regulation of metabolic gene expression. Here we review key findings in the field that demonstrate roles for lipin family members in metabolic homeostasis and in rare human diseases, and we examine evidence implicating genetic variations in lipin genes in common metabolic dysregulation such as obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.