a tingly, prickly sensation in a limb that is recovering from numbness.
on pins and needles, in a state of nervous anticipation: The father-to-be was on pins and needles.
Origin of pins and needles
First recorded in 1800–10
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for on pins and needlesjumpy
British Dictionary definitions for on pins and needles
noun (functioning as singular) informal
a tingling sensation in the fingers, toes, legs, etc, caused by the return of normal blood circulation after its temporary impairment
on pins and needles in a state of anxious suspense or nervous anticipation
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
on pins and needles in Culture
In a state of anxiety or tense expectation: “Jackie was on pins and needles waiting to hear about her job application.”
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.
Idioms and Phrases with 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.