verb (used with object), nee·dled, nee·dling.

verb (used without object), nee·dled, nee·dling.

to form needles in crystallization.
to work with a needle.

Nearby words

  1. needfire,
  2. needful,
  3. needfully,
  4. needham,
  5. neediness,
  6. needle bath,
  7. needle bearing,
  8. needle biopsy,
  9. needle exchange,
  10. needle fly


    on the needle, Slang. taking drugs by injection, especially habitually.
    the needle, Informal. irritating abuse; teasing; heckling (used especially in the phrases give someone the needle and get the needle).

Origin of needle

before 900; 1880–85 for def 16; Middle English nedle, Old English nǣdl, cognate with German Nadel; akin to Latin nēre to spin

Related formsnee·dle·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for needling

British Dictionary definitions for needling



a pointed slender piece of metal, usually steel, with a hole or eye in it through which thread is passed for sewing
a somewhat larger rod with a point at one or each end, used in knitting
a similar instrument with a hook at one end for crocheting
  1. another name for stylus (def. 3)
  2. a small thin pointed device, esp one made of stainless steel, used to transmit the vibrations from a gramophone record to the pick-up
  1. the long hollow pointed part of a hypodermic syringe, which is inserted into the body
  2. an informal name for hypodermic syringe
surgery a pointed steel instrument, often curved, for suturing, puncturing, or ligating
a long narrow stiff leaf, esp of a conifer, in which water loss is greatly reducedpine needles
any slender sharp spine, such as the spine of a sea urchin
any slender pointer for indicating the reading on the scale of a measuring instrument
short for magnetic needle
a crystal resembling a needle in shape
a sharp pointed metal instrument used in engraving and etching
anything long and pointed, such as an obeliska needle of light
a short horizontal beam passed through a wall and supported on vertical posts to take the load of the upper part of the wall
  1. anger or intense rivalry, esp in a sporting encounter
  2. (as modifier)a needle match
get the needle or have the needle British informal to feel dislike, distaste, nervousness, or annoyance (for)she got the needle after he had refused her invitation


(tr) informal to goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
(tr) to sew, embroider, or prick (fabric) with a needle
(tr) US to increase the alcoholic strength of (beer or other beverages)
(intr) (of a substance) to form needle-shaped crystals

Word Origin for needle

Old English nǣdl; related to Gothic nēthla, German Nadel

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

Word Origin and History for needling
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for needling




Dissection of a soft or secondary cataract.




A slender, usually sharp-pointed instrument used for puncturing tissues, suturing, or passing a ligature around an artery.
A hollow, slender, sharp-pointed instrument used for injection or aspiration.


To separate tissues by means of one or two needles in the dissection of small parts.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for needling



A narrow, stiff leaf, as of firs, pines, and other conifers. The reduced surface area of needles minimizes water loss and allows needle-bearing plants to live in dry climates. See more at leaf.
See hypodermic needle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with needling


In addition to the idiom beginning with needle

  • needle in a haystack
  • needless to say

also see:

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