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on pins and needles

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In a state of anxiety or tense expectation: “Jackie was on pins and needles waiting to hear about her job application.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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on pins and needles

Nervously anxious, as in He was on pins and needles, waiting for the test results. The graphic expression pins and needles for the tingling sensation experienced in recovering from numbness was transferred to a feeling of marked mental uneasiness about 1800.

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