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noun nee·dle \ˈnē-dəl\

Simple Definition of needle

  • : 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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of needle

  1. 1 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)

  2. 2 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

  3. 3 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)

  4. 4 :  a teasing or gibing remark

needlelike play \ˈnē-dəl-ˌ(l)īk\ adjective

Examples of needle in a sentence

  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 nǣdl; akin to Old High German nādala needle, nājan to sew, Latin nēre to spin, Greek nēn

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Handicraft Terms

Rhymes with needle



verb nee·dle

Simple Definition of needle

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of needle

needledneedling play \ˈnēd-liŋ, ˈnē-dəl-iŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to sew or pierce with or as if with a needle

  3. 2 a :  tease, torment b :  to incite to action by repeated gibes <needled the boy into a fight>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  sew, embroider

needler play \ˈnēd-lər, ˈnē-dəl-ər\ noun

Examples of needle in a sentence

  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>

Circa 1715

First Known Use of needle

circa 1715

NEEDLE Defined for Kids



noun nee·dle \ˈnē-dəl\

Definition of needle for Students

  1. 1 :  a small slender pointed usually steel tool used for sewing

  2. 2 :  a slender pointed piece of metal or plastic (used for knitting)

  3. 3 :  a leaf (as of a pine) shaped like a needle

  4. 4 :  a pointer on a dial <The needle on her gas gauge read “empty.”>

  5. 5 :  a slender hollow instrument that has a sharp point and by which material is put into or taken from the body through the skin

needlelike \ˈnē-dəl-ˌlīk\ adjective

Headscratcher for needle

Do you need needles? If you add another “s” to needles, you'll find that needles are needless.



verb nee·dle

Definition of needle for Students


  1. :  1tease 1, taunt

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up needle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


immature or lacking adult sophistication

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