Definition of needle in English:

needle

Line breaks: nee¦dle
Pronunciation: /ˈniːd(ə)l
 
/

noun

  • 1A very fine slender piece of polished metal with a point at one end and a hole or eye for thread at the other, used in sewing: a darning needle
    More example sentences
    • He watched her thread her needle again, her slender, graceful fingers never erring despite the inadequate light.
    • After the nurse stitched the wound with a sewing needle and cotton thread, the mother and baby were transferred and treated by Dr Valle and his colleagues at the nearest hospital.
    • She found 3 different colored spools of cloth, a few basic colors of thread, a sewing needle, a cheap pair of shoes, and a comb.
  • 1.1A similar, larger instrument used in crafts such as crochet, knitting, and lacemaking.
    More example sentences
    • Last night I had to restart my hat because when I joined the knitting on the circular needles, I accidentally left a twist in it, and it was unfixable.
    • I seem to have finally mastered knitting on two circular needles!
    • At the same time, they're unlikely to be ready for full-blown knitting on needles.
  • 2The pointed hollow end of a hypodermic syringe.
    More example sentences
    • He paid a $200 fine for possession of hypodermic syringes, needles, and other paraphernalia.
    • To give the epidural anaesthetic, the anaesthetist passes a hollow needle into a small space just below the spinal cord.
    • Examples include the use of hypodermic needles designed to protect healthcare workers against exposure to HIV from needle sticks.
  • 2.1A very fine metal spike used in acupuncture.
    More example sentences
    • In acupuncture treatment, fine needles are inserted into the skin at particular locations to alleviate the patient's symptoms.
    • Acupuncturists can use as many as nine types of Acupuncture needles, though only six are commonly used today.
    • Both the acupuncture needles were therefore located near the proximal and distal ends of the implanted silicone tubes, respectively.
  • 4Something likened to a needle, in particular:
    More example sentences
    • Robin: clean the fluff off the needle.
  • 4.1A stylus used to play records: she wound the gramophone and lowered the needle on to the record
    More example sentences
    • When the friend forgot to bring him his needles for the record player Chad attempted to re-enter the club.
    • The needle broke on my record player eighteen months ago and I haven't been able to get a new one yet.
    • They are something I, as a member of Parliament, have been on about, to the point of being like a needle in a cracked record, for many, many years.
    Synonyms
  • 4.2An etching tool.
    More example sentences
    • The hard zinc plate, the surgicality of the etching needle and processes involving machines resist any illusion of a veridical access to the world or one's own emotions.
    • Then the image is incised into the wax or resin layer with an etching needle.
    • In her last years she continued with her art, though she gave up etching due to her loss of the visual acuity required by the etching needle.
  • 4.3A steel pin exploding the cartridge of a breech-loading gun.
    More example sentences
    • Sailors who have only used Jasons pistols with the more common stainless steel needles are not at risk from this type of exposure.
  • 5The sharp, stiff, slender leaf of a fir or pine tree.
    More example sentences
    • The conifers are a particularly interesting group to study as unlike cereals their leaves or needles are retained for several years.
    • Usually 1 to 2 cm thick, it is composed of needles, leaves, twigs, and is dark brown in colour.
    • A large volume of soil can thus be sampled by analyzing appropriate parts of a tree, such as twigs, needles, leaves, or bark.
  • 6A pointed rock or peak: just left of the needle is a steep wall for those who like bold climbing
  • 6.1 (the Needles) A group of rocks in the sea off the western tip of the Isle of Wight in southern England.
  • 6.2An obelisk: Cleopatra’s Needle
  • 7 [mass noun] British informal Hostility or antagonism provoked by rivalry: there is already a little bit of needle between the sides
    More example sentences
    • Wearsiders and Teessiders can enjoy the North East needle match, Middlesbrough v Sunderland, at the Skeldergate pub on Monday night.
    • This needle match between France and Britain dates back at least to the hundred years war.
    • Shipley's first and second teams are in the West Yorkshire Super League - and when they clash they are always needle matches.
  • 8A beam used as a temporary support during underpinning.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Prick or pierce with or as if with a needle: dust needled his eyes
    More example sentences
    • There have been calls for the medical profession to be better informed about how to treat farmers who've accidentally needled themselves with the OJD vaccine.
    • On our walk, multi-hued birds fluttered overhead in the green forest and deodar trees tall as totems from some pantheon of forest gods vied with the pines to needle the sky.
    • We will have the similar effect by needling the same acupoint no matter on the same or a different subject.

Phrases

the eye of a needle

A tiny aperture through which it would seem impossible to pass (especially with reference to Matt. 19:24).
More example sentences
  • The Christian bible quotes Jesus as saying it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven; or then there's the Irish saying: ‘There are no pockets in a shroud’.
  • A supersized prole will pass through the eye of a needle before anyone not in the Party will be admitted to heaven.
  • I mean, if a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, anything's possible, right?

give someone the needle

informal Provoke or annoy someone.
More example sentences
  • They'll get you after another one and give you the needle without a second thought about it.
  • No need to give me the needle just because someone's given it to you.

a needle in a haystack

Something that is almost impossible to find because it is hidden among so many other things: locating these fish can be like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack
More example sentences
  • However, that would be nearly as impossible as finding a needle in a haystack.
  • Unfortunately, we are looking for a needle in a haystack and you cannot hope to be able to prevent any such outrage as this.
  • He walked bulls through china shops, contrived an actual change of horses in mid-stream during an election campaign and, to publicise a piece of real estate, spent 10 days searching for a needle in a haystack.

Origin

Old English nǣdl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch naald and German Nadel, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin nere 'to spin' and Greek nēma 'thread'.

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