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 Since the 1980s, however, hemlocks have come under an ever-widening assault from the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny insect native to Japan that sucks sugars from hemlock needles, killing trees. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, "Aphid-munching beetle could help save hemlock forests," 15 Jan. 2020 The workers generally disposed of the needles, shopping carts, trash and human waste that are left behind after a homeless camp is cleared. USA TODAY, "Gray whale tows calf, wolves on the move, John Dillinger won’t be exhumed; News from around our 50 states," 11 Jan. 2020 The city’s reputation has suffered amid complaints about homelessness, needles, feces on the streets and — insult to injury — the high cost charged for experiencing all of that. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, "After Oracle OpenWorld departure, SF pitches convention planners," 6 Jan. 2020 To help move the needle, Phillips 66 will return as title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year; Quanex Foundation will serve as presenting sponsor. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Neil and Maria Bush share A Celebration of Reading 2020's partial author lineup at River Oaks party," 17 Dec. 2019 There’s a makeshift knife, fishhooks, sewing needles, a broadhead, saw blades, and even a spare shirt button. Ben Romans, Field & Stream, "Last-Minute Gift Guide for Hunting and Fishing Gear," 13 Dec. 2019 Consumers who buy the other 18% don’t mind having a tree that scratches the car roof, needs water, drops needles, gets sap on the rug, is not adjustable, and dies in four weeks. Marni Jameson, orlandosentinel.com, "Faux firs: New trends in Christmas trees," 5 Dec. 2019 If the shrubs don’t have enough water stored in their leaves or needles, a burlap screen can’t keep them from drying out. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Burlap can protect shrubs, but don’t wrap them up," 23 Nov. 2019 There’s no evidence of smaller bird talons being used as awls or needles, and Rodriguez and his colleagues say it’s unlikely the Neanderthals would use only eagle talons for those purposes, when a range of sizes would make sense. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Did Neanderthals make eagle talon necklaces 120,000 years ago?," 20 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If needling your privacy-minded friend or family member is your aim, how about an online influence campaign just for them? Jeremy B. Merrill, Quartz, "Reading this in incognito? We’ve got your privacy-conscious gift guide," 17 Dec. 2019 That, of course, is when Anheuser-Busch unveiled a multimillion-dollar ad campaign needling MillerCoors for using corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light, touching off a court battle that continues to rage. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Miller-Budweiser battle over corn syrup now includes charges of corporate espionage," 17 Oct. 2019 Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan said Tuesday in a news conference called to needle Jones on impeachment, one of several Republicans held around the country aimed at Democrats in Trump territory. Kim Chandler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Alabama Democratic Sen. Jones in a bind on impeachment," 9 Oct. 2019 The other two Democratic candidates, labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan and businessman Steve Pemberton, quickly agreed to the debate, a fact that Markey’s campaign used to needle Kennedy. BostonGlobe.com, "Kennedy’s campaign said the climate debate should take place “on the ground” in a Massachusetts community already experiencing the harsh effects of unaddressed climate change.," 5 Oct. 2019 Fans didn’t wait until the start of matches Thursday to needle him. Doug Ferguson, SFChronicle.com, "Patrick Reed is lampooned for sand violation in last week’s event," 10 Dec. 2019 When All-Star Gordon Hayward left Utah for Boston in the summer of 2017, Lyles further needled Jazz fans by tweeting a GIF of actor Leonardo DiCaprio laughing. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs’ Trey Lyles aims to be more than consolation prize," 11 Oct. 2019 This season, repeat star baker Steph had little tolerance for his antics, but semifinalist and veterinarian Rosie always rose to the challenge, often with a quick-witted response, when Fielding needled her with animal humor. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Three seasons into a cast shake-up, ‘The Great British Baking Show’ is about as sweet as ever," 1 Nov. 2019 During last spring’s re-election campaign Mr Modi relentlessly needled his chief opponent, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party leader and fifth-generation scion of India’s most illustrious political family. The Economist, "The prime minister What does Narendra Modi want?," 24 Oct. 2019

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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Needle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/needle. Accessed 22 January 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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