- a slender, pointed, steel instrument used in sewing or piercing tissues, as in suturing.
- hypodermic needle.
verb (used with object), nee·dled, nee·dling.
- to prod or goad (someone) to a specified action: We needled her into going with us.
- to tease: We needled him about his big ears.
verb (used without object), nee·dled, nee·dling.
Origin of needle
- another name for stylus (def. 3)
- a small thin pointed device, esp one made of stainless steel, used to transmit the vibrations from a gramophone record to the pick-up
- the long hollow pointed part of a hypodermic syringe, which is inserted into the body
- an informal name for hypodermic syringe
- anger or intense rivalry, esp in a sporting encounter
- (as modifier)a needle match
Word Origin for needle
Old English nædl, from Proto-Germanic *næthlo (cf. Old Saxon nathla, Old Norse nal, Old Frisian nedle, Old High German nadala, German Nadel, Gothic neþla "needle"), literally "a tool for sewing," from PIE *net-la-, from root *(s)ne- "to sew, to spin" (cf. Sanskrit snayati "wraps up," Greek nein "to spin," Latin nere "to spin," German nähen "to sew," Old Church Slavonic niti "thread," Old Irish snathat "needle," Welsh nyddu "to sew," nodwydd "needle") + instrumental suffix *-tla.
To seke out one lyne in all hys bookes wer to go looke a nedle in a meadow. [Thomas More, c.1530]
Meaning "piece of magnetized steel in a compass" is from late 14c. (on a dial or indicator from 1928); the surgical instrument so called from 1727; phonographic sense from 1902; sense of "leaf of a fir or pine tree" first attested 1797. Needledom "the world of sewing" is from 1847. Needle's eye, figurative of a minute opening, often is a reference to Matt. xix:24.
1715, "to sew or pierce with a needle," from needle (n.). Meaning "goad, provoke" (1881) probably is from earlier meaning "haggle in making a bargain" (1812). Related: Needled; needling.
In addition to the idiom beginning with needle
- needle in a haystack
- needless to say
- on pins and needles