needle

noun
nee·​dle | \ ˈnē-dᵊl How to pronounce needle (audio) \

Definition of needle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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) : an extremely thin solid usually stainless steel instrument used in acupuncture and inserted through the skin
d : any of various slender hollow devices used to introduce matter (such as air) into or remove it from an object (such as a ball)
2a : 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
3a : a slender pointed object resembling a needle: such 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 : a teasing or gibing remark

needle

verb
needled; needling\ ˈnēd-​liŋ How to pronounce needling (audio) , ˈnē-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of needle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to sew or pierce with or as if with a needle
b : to incite to action by repeated gibes needled the boy into a fight

Illustration of needle

Illustration of needle

Noun

needle 1: 1 suture, 2 sewing, 3 knitting

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from needle

Noun

needlelike \ ˈnē-​dᵊl-​ˌ(l)īk How to pronounce needlelike (audio) \ adjective

Verb

needler \ ˈnēd-​lər How to pronounce needler (audio) , ˈnē-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for needle

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of needle in a Sentence

Noun I need a needle and thread to sew the button on your shirt. The needle on the scale points to 9 grams. The compass needle points north. Verb His classmates needled him about his new haircut. we needled him mercilessly for thinking that he had any chance of being the prom date for the school's most popular girl
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Police asked her to exit the 1999 Honda without her purse, also finding a needle on her. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "He’s got a warrant, she’s got a gun: Orange Police Blotter," 8 May 2020 Stick and poke tattoos, for those who need a refresher, involved dipping a needle in ink before inserting it into your skin repeatedly. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why You Shouldn’t Give Yourself a Stick and Poke Tattoo Right Now," 24 Apr. 2020 But my cursory research only points to one clear Apple-to-schools movement in the 1980s focused squarely on California—since Apple struggled to get federal lawmakers to move the needle on nationwide tax credits for computer donations. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Do you even 10-key, bro? Our homage to the classic keyboard standard," 12 Apr. 2020 Drop the needle on the lp, or hit Spotify and join in at #timstwitterlisteningparty. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s mailbag: How would starting an abbreviated season in Arizona work?," 7 Apr. 2020 Even so, the approach has proven capable of spotting a coronavirus needle in a haystack of big data. Will Knight, Wired, "How AI Is Tracking the Coronavirus Outbreak," 8 Feb. 2020 The odor was round and earthy: notes of crushed ponderosa pine needles, redwood tree bark, algae from the lazy Eel River, dust kicked up from dirt roads. Alia Volz, Bon Appétit, "My Mom's Pot Brownies Were Legendary During the AIDS Epidemic. This Is Her Recipe.," 20 Apr. 2020 This vintage shows a heady mix of crushed blueberries, dried flower petals and pine needle. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "The best wines I’ve drunk in my coronavirus quarantine, so far," 2 Apr. 2020 Roots, leaves, pine needles; the man was basically a walking field guide. Aj Willingham, CNN, "The highest praise an artist can get," 6 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Following the Rules Trump has needled Sanders voters by playing up claims that the process is rigged against the Vermont senator. Laura Litvan, Bloomberg.com, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Still Team Sanders But Promises to Back Nominee," 10 May 2020 Adams was 'instrumental' to needle exchange Born in Maryland, Adams made Indiana his home after attending the Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Surgeon General Jerome Adams uses Indiana HIV outbreak experience to fight coronavirus," 13 Apr. 2020 She's needled the Trump administration over a shortage of medical supplies for states. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "How Gretchen Whitmer would help Joe Biden as his running mate," 1 Apr. 2020 Another driver both seconded those shortcomings and needled the Hyundai for its drab, plasticky interior. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Our Hyundai Veloster N Demands to Be Heard," 30 Mar. 2020 But Pence had been opposed to needle exchanges as anti-drug policy. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, "Trump picks Pence to lead coronavirus response, critics point out his handling of HIV outbreak," 27 Feb. 2020 The president and his allies sent giddy tweets needling his accusers and Democrats. Author: Jonathan Lemire And Zeke Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump barrels into 2020 campaign, emboldened after acquittal," 6 Feb. 2020 The president and his allies hav e been on a victory lap since Wednesday, sending giddy tweets needling his accusers and Democrats and celebrating. Jonathan Lemire, Fortune, "Trump unleashes fury at impeachment enemies during National Prayer Breakfast speech," 6 Feb. 2020 And yet, the blog’s headlines seem designed to needle readers. Khe Hy, Quartz, "An anonymous blogger wants to solve your biggest money mysteries," 3 Mar. 2020

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

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First Known Use of needle

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1715, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for needle

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for needle

Time Traveler

The first known use of needle was before the 12th century

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Statistics for needle

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Needle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/needle. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for needle

needle

noun
How to pronounce needle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of needle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

needle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of needle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

needle

noun
nee·​dle | \ ˈnē-dᵊl How to pronounce needle (audio) \

Kids Definition of needle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small slender pointed usually steel tool used for sewing
2 : a slender pointed piece of metal or plastic (used for knitting)
3 : a leaf (as of a pine) shaped like a needle
4 : a pointer on a dial The needle on her gas gauge read “empty.”
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

Other Words from needle

needlelike \ ˈnē-​dᵊl-​ˌlīk \ adjective

needle

verb
needled; needling

Kids Definition of needle (Entry 2 of 2)

needle

noun
nee·​dle | \ ˈnēd-ᵊl How to pronounce needle (audio) \

Medical Definition of needle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small slender usually steel instrument designed to carry sutures when sewing tissues in surgery
2 : a slender hollow instrument for introducing material into or removing material from the body parenterally
needled; needling\ ˈnēd-​liŋ, -​ᵊl-​iŋ How to pronounce needling (audio) \

Medical Definition of needle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to puncture, operate on, or inject with a needle needling a cataract

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Comments on needle

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