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 needle (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 needle (audio) \ adjective

Verb

needler \ ˈnēd-​lər How to pronounce needle (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 There are a limited number of true movie stars and directors who can move the needle internally at studios, and their ability to defend the theatrical model is as significant as any financial metric. Ben Everard, WSJ, "Why Covid Won’t Kill Movie Theaters," 30 Dec. 2020 But this quality-of-life effort could truly help move the needle in the Delta. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, "Hopes for 2021," 27 Dec. 2020 On Saturday, however, the Tigers finally managed to move the needle in the right direction. Rich Scherr, baltimoresun.com, "Towson earns first men’s basketball win of season, surging past Coppin State, 78-73," 26 Dec. 2020 The two wins, against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, failed to move the needle. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Clemson rolls to another ACC championship and sends warning to playoff field," 20 Dec. 2020 To actually move the needle on diversity, institutions can begin by redirecting their efforts away from programs designed to change hearts and minds, and toward proactive interventions. Pamela Newkirk, WSJ, "After 2020, How Do We Move Forward on Race?," 14 Dec. 2020 This could—and should—have been an opportunity to move the needle forward. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Prom on Netflix Is Sparkly, Heartwarming Fun—Even With Its Flaws," 10 Dec. 2020 The fashion industry would need to commit to these new waste streams and developments to make these materials practical options that would actually move the needle. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, "Growing Sequins and Sneakers in a Lab With Public School and Phillip Lim," 8 Dec. 2020 Closing intracity public transit didn’t move the needle, either. Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Perfect Strategy to Fight Covid-19 Is … Everything?," 8 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Studies have found, for example, that needle exchange participants are more likely to seek to quit drugs, not less. Maia Szalavitz/undark, Popular Science, "Shaming the public into smarter COVID-19 decisions won’t work. This will.," 10 Dec. 2020 Despite the temporary delay in collecting fees, Facebook continued to needle Apple on Friday. Kurt Wagner, Bloomberg.com, "Apple to Let Facebook Online Events Temporarily Avoid 30% Cut," 25 Sep. 2020 However, to needle Biden for not traveling to Milwaukee, Trump planned a rally Monday in Wisconsin just as the convention is kicking off. Scott Bauer, Star Tribune, "Milwaukee misses Democratic convention: 'It is a gut punch'," 17 Aug. 2020 Earlier this year, Falwell apologized for a tweet intended to needle Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam over his mask mandate. Luis Andres Henao And Sarah Rankin, Star Tribune, "Liberty students, alumni split on Falwell's scandalous exit," 27 Aug. 2020 Richards, not yet governor at the time, in 1988 used the keynote to needle fellow Texan, President George H.W. Bush. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Watch live: Texans Allred, Neave to help pitch ‘different vision’ for country in DNC’s unusual 17-speaker keynote," 19 Aug. 2020 Along with Derrick Brown, Thomas is one of Davidson’s favorite people to needle. Giana Han, al, "Road to the Pros: Marlon Davidson ‘living it up’ as he prepares for the NFL Draft," 23 Apr. 2020 Owner Stephen Ross is a big Michigan guy and would love to get Brady, and would love to needle the Patriots. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "If Tom Brady leaves the Patriots, which team would he end up on?," 9 Jan. 2020 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

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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Needle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/needle. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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 needle (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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