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[hey-stak] /ˈheɪˌstæk/
a stack of hay with a conical or ridged top, built up in the mowed field so as to prevent the accumulation of moisture and promote drying.
Also, especially British, hayrick.
Origin of haystack
1425-75; late Middle English. See hay, stack Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for haystack
Historical Examples
  • “As well look for a needle in a haystack,” observed the far-seeing Bob.

  • Who is it anyhow of the “magnetic” tribe that may cast the first stone at the “haystack”?

    The Arena Various
  • An unkind report was afterwards circulated to the effect that he hid himself under a haystack.

  • We two, perched on the haystack, did not take the words at all with a kindly meaning.

    Adventures and Recollections Bill o'th' Hoylus End
  • Why, my dear mother, if you'd been a Boer woman you'd have potted at us from behind a haystack with the best of them.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • Presently Ivan mounted on to the haystack and began to play.

  • It is worse than looking for a needle in a haystack to hunt for a man in New York.

  • And that would be worse than hiding behind a haystack—for the good of the service.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • The haystack must be stuck full of needles like the bran of a pin-cushion.

    Doom Castle Neil Munro
  • On a night like this we might as well look for a needle in a haystack.

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
British Dictionary definitions for haystack


a large pile of hay, esp one built in the open air and covered with thatch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for haystack

mid-15c., from hay + stack (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with haystack


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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