Definition of pins and needles in English:

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pins and needles

plural noun

[treated as singular]
A tingling sensation in a limb recovering from numbness.
Example sentences
  • I have received quite a few letters from people suffering from restless legs, pins and needles and other tingling sensations which have not been found to be caused by anything in particular.
  • She climbed on his back and lay there, felt the surface beneath start to prick like pins and needles in the rising warmth.
  • These symptoms consist mainly of tingling, numbness, a sensation of pins and needles in the extremities, and muscle aches.


on pins and needles

In an agitated state of suspense.
Example sentences
  • You look like you're sitting on pins and needles.
  • Now they sit on pins and needles, figuratively speaking, because, now that you're back, they don't know if you are to be depended upon.
  • It will keep people on pins and needles for the next 48 months but we'll keep trucking along.
in suspense, waiting with bated breath;
anxious, nervous, apprehensive, worried, worried sick, on edge, edgy, tense, strained, stressed, agitated, in a state of nerves, in a state of agitation, fretful, restless, worked up, keyed up, overwrought, wrought up, strung out, jumpy, with one's stomach in knots, with one's heart in one's mouth, like a cat on a hot tin roof, fidgety;
British  nervy
informal with butterflies in one's stomach, jittery, twitchy, in a state, uptight, wired, in a stew, in a dither, all of a dither, in a sweat, in a flap, in a tizz/tizzy, all of a lather, het up, in a twitter, waiting for the axe to fall
British informal strung up, windy, having kittens, all of a doodah
North American informal spooky, squirrelly, in a twit
Australian/New Zealand informal toey
British vulgar slang shitting bricks, bricking oneself
dated overstrung

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pins and nee¦dles

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