noun \ˈnē-dəl\

: a small, very thin object that is used in sewing and that has a sharp point at one end and a hole for thread

: one of the two long, thin sticks that are used in knitting and that are pointed at one end

: a very thin, pointed steel tube that is pushed through the skin so that something (such as a drug) can be put into your body or so that blood or other fluids can be taken from it

Full Definition of NEEDLE

a :  a small slender usually steel instrument that has an eye for thread or surgical sutures at one end and that is used for sewing
b :  any of various devices for carrying thread and making stitches (as in crocheting or knitting)
c (1) :  a slender hollow instrument for introducing material into or removing material from the body (as by insertion under the skin)
(2) :  any of various slender hollow devices used to introduce matter (as air) into or remove it from an object (as a ball)
a :  a slender bar of magnetized steel that when allowed to turn freely (as in a compass) indicates the direction of a magnetic field (as of the earth)
b :  a slender usually sharp-pointed indicator on a dial
a :  a slender pointed object resembling a needle: as (1) :  a pointed crystal (2) :  a sharp rock (3) :  obelisk
b :  a needle-shaped leaf (as of a conifer)
c :  a slender rod (as of jewel or steel) with a rounded tip used in a phonograph to transmit vibrations from a record :  stylus
d :  a slender pointed rod controlling a fine inlet or outlet (as in a valve)
:  a teasing or gibing remark
nee·dle·like \ˈnē-dəl-ˌ(l)īk\ adjective

Examples of NEEDLE

  1. I need a needle and thread to sew the button on your shirt.
  2. The needle on the scale points to 9 grams.
  3. The compass needle points north.

Illustration of NEEDLE

Origin of NEEDLE

Middle English nedle, from Old English ̄dl; akin to Old High German nādala needle, nājan to sew, Latin nēre to spin, Greek nēn
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to NEEDLE

Other Handicraft Terms

biscuit, darn, tambour, wrought

Rhymes with NEEDLE



: to criticize and laugh at (someone) in either a friendly or an unkind way

nee·dlednee·dling \ˈnēd-liŋ, ˈnē-dəl-iŋ\

Full Definition of NEEDLE

transitive verb
:  to sew or pierce with or as if with a needle
a :  tease, torment
b :  to incite to action by repeated gibes <needled the boy into a fight>
intransitive verb
:  sew, embroider
nee·dler \ˈnēd-lər, ˈnē-dəl-ər\ noun

Examples of NEEDLE

  1. His classmates needled him about his new haircut.
  2. <we needled him mercilessly for thinking that he had any chance of being the prom date for the school's most popular girl>

First Known Use of NEEDLE

circa 1715

Rhymes with NEEDLE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Basic implement used in sewing or embroidering and, in variant forms, for knitting and crocheting. The sewing needle is small, slender, and rodlike. One end is sharply pointed to make passing it through fabric easy; the other end has a slot (called an eye) to carry a thread. Modern sewing needles are made of steel. Crocheting needles are eyeless and have a hook on one end; they are usually of steel or plastic. Knitting needles are long, made of various materials, and bluntly pointed at one or both ends, sometimes with a knob at the end opposite the point.


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