needle

noun
nee·​dle | \ˈnē-dᵊl \

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 , ˈnē-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of needle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to sew or pierce with or as if with a needle

2a : tease, torment

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 \ adjective

Verb

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

Synonyms for needle

Synonyms: Noun

hand, index, indicator, pointer

Synonyms: Verb

bait, hassle, haze, heckle, ride, taunt, tease

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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 found drugs, needles and other paraphernalia in the vehicle, which was parked near a Petco. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Dog dies of heat in parked vehicle as man overdoses on drugs," 22 June 2018 The needles can be plain or accompanied with gentle currents of electricity, medication, or burning herbs. Houston Chronicle, "Pet Talk: Could your pet benefit from acupuncture treatment?," 6 July 2018 Even with semi-permanent, there are risks, like the needle going too deep or an infection. refinery29.com, "People Are Getting Tattoos To Match Meghan Markle's Freckles," 5 June 2018 Many of the needles wind up discarded on city streets, in parks and at homeless encampments. Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why San Francisco is stuck with a deluge of needles," 30 May 2018 Regardless of what happened before, the needle moved this time. Katie Reilly, Time, "These Republican Teachers Are Running Against Their Own Party to Reverse Years of Education Cuts," 16 May 2018 And the Zen-like trance that accompanies repetitive hand motions and the soothing clicking of the needles isn’t just in your head. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: The Countless Ways Knitting Can Improve Your Health and Happiness," 25 Apr. 2018 When asked Thursday afternoon if Trump had moved the needle on guns, No. Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg.com, "On Guns and Immigration, Trump’s Power Over GOP Shows Limits," 2 Mar. 2018 Care providers can be accidentally stuck with needles, necessitating stressful testing for diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "A Robot May One Day Draw Your Blood," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the show also deftly portrayed the old Russia vs. the disruptive and needling new Russia, whose operatives engage in sophisticated hacking and are driven by decade-old grievances against the West. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, "Before ‘The Americans’ and ‘Homeland,’ Russian TV spies were simple villains. No more.," 2 May 2018 But the show also deftly portrayed the old Russia vs. the disruptive and needling new Russia, whose operatives engage in sophisticated hacking and are driven by decade-old grievances against the West. Michael S. Rosenwald, chicagotribune.com, "Before 'The Americans' and 'Homeland,' Russian TV spies were simple villains, but no more," 2 May 2018 At the same time, Mr. Legere embraced social media as a tool to promote himself and needle his adversaries. David Gelles, New York Times, "‘He’s a Pit Bull’: T-Mobile C.E.O. Is the Colorful Outlier of Wireless," 1 May 2018 Ronaldo has scored a tournament-leading four goals — all of Portugal's goals so far — while silently needling Messi. Ben Nuckols, chicagotribune.com, "Messi, Argentina under pressure to win against Croatia," 20 June 2018 The facial includes a cleanse, followed by an intensive TCA peel, micro-needling machine and en electrifying mask to calm the skin, followed by my 'secret box' of EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) serum. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Story Behind The Cate Blanchett ‘Penis Facial’ Controversy," 16 Mar. 2018 Burnham was less Maleficent cursing Sleeping Beauty’s christening than a court jester mildly needling the royals. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Bo Burnham’s Age of Anxiety," 8 Dec. 2014 On a recent Monday evening, as the chorus practiced for its Pride weekend season finale, members joked and needled one another in whispers. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, "The S.F. Gay Men’s Chorus, part of history itself, sings it out in ‘Unbreakable’," 14 June 2018 Such was the dynamic throughout much of Constand’s second day on the witness stand as Mesereau harangued, challenged, quizzed, and needled the former Temple University basketball manager for another two hours in a pivotal cross-examination. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "Constand denies defense claim she plotted to extort Cosby," 16 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for needle

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for needle

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

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More Definitions for needle

needle

noun

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)

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

needle

noun
nee·​dle | \ˈnē-dᵊl \

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of needle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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