needle in a haystack

An item that is very hard or impossible to locate, as in Looking for that screw in Dean's workshop amounts to looking for a needle in a haystack. Originating in the early 1500s, with meadow instead of haystack, this metaphor exists in many other languages as well.


Nearby words

  1. needle bath,
  2. needle bearing,
  3. needle biopsy,
  4. needle exchange,
  5. needle fly,
  6. needle time,
  7. needle trades,
  8. needle valve,
  9. needle-holder,
  10. needlecord

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