hay·​stack | \ ˈhā-ˌstak How to pronounce haystack (audio) \

Definition of haystack

1 : a stack of hay
2 : a vertical standing wave in turbulent river waters

Examples of haystack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But it’s also like going after a needle in a haystack, which is why no one has ever done this before. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Is It a Planet? Astronomers Spy Promising Potential World around Alpha Centauri," 10 Feb. 2021 But finding prosecutable manipulation can be a needle-in-a-haystack search. Star Tribune, "Game on in slop stocks," 28 Jan. 2021 Once upon a time, looking for products that truly nourished curly and kinkier hair types was akin to searching for a needle in a haystack—borderline impossible. Chelsea Hall, Marie Claire, "30 Black-Owned Hair Care Brands to Shop Now and Always," 10 Dec. 2020 That’s not the easiest needle to find in a haystack of questions about the 1-5 Vikings, but thank you to Davis for the changeup. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Vikings mailbag: Reasons to be optimistic? Anthony Barr's future? Trades?," 30 Oct. 2020 Her job is to find the needle in a haystack, to sift through complex evidence and data to help FBI agents solve crimes. CBS News, ""The FBI Declassified": To catch a serial bomber," 20 Oct. 2020 Andrew Marantz writes in the New Yorker, taking issue with the narrative posted by Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg that moderating content on Facebook is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "‘Hi, Speed:’ Apple walks the tightrope of embracing 5G," 13 Oct. 2020 This metaphor casts Zuckerberg as a hapless victim of fate: day after day, through no fault of his own, his haystack ends up mysteriously full of needles. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "Why Facebook Can’t Fix Itself," 12 Oct. 2020 My destination was Hemis National Park, India's largest, at 1,700 square miles, and home to roughly 40 snow leopards—one of the densest concentrations in the world but still just 40-ish needles in a very big, high, cold haystack. Maggie Shipstead, Condé Nast Traveler, "Spotting Snow Leopards in the Himalayas," 5 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'haystack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of haystack

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about haystack

Time Traveler for haystack

Time Traveler

The first known use of haystack was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for haystack

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Haystack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haystack. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for haystack



English Language Learners Definition of haystack

: a large pile of hay


hay·​stack | \ ˈhā-ˌstak How to pronounce haystack (audio) \

Kids Definition of haystack

: a large pile of hay stored outdoors

More from Merriam-Webster on haystack

Nglish: Translation of haystack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of haystack for Arabic Speakers

Comments on haystack

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


Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!