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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun John, a second-grade student at the time, was shown receiving the shot while Ann, a year younger, stood next to him waiting for her turn with the needle. Kaitlin Edquist, chicagotribune.com, "A suburban couple received polio shots together as young kids, appearing in their local newspaper. Decades later, they eagerly receive the COVID-19 vaccine.," 6 Apr. 2021 On a recent afternoon, a few dozen people were waiting for the needle inside a white tent outside the Palais des Sports, an arena in Abidjan. Washington Post, "Ivory Coast is falling behind its vaccination schedule. Health workers fear thousands of shots could expire.," 4 Apr. 2021 The thought of being pricked with a needle has never been more thrilling. Leanza Abucayan, CNN, "How to cure your boredom while waiting in line for the Covid-19 vaccine," 27 Mar. 2021 Working with a hand needle, a good seamstress took about 14 hours to make a shirt. Virginia Postrel, Star Tribune, "Women's history reveals how liberation follows when technology 'destroys jobs'," 20 Mar. 2021 Because a fish tagged with a prize would be a needle in the haystack of Florida’s fourth largest lake, Lake Apopka. Kevin Spear, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake Apopka jackpot: angler lands ‘Jim,’ the female bass worth $5,000," 19 Mar. 2021 Northam shed a sport jacket and dress shirt before a member of the Virginia National Guard plunged a needle into his left shoulder. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Emissions enigma, mask scofflaw’s dare, Ammon Bundy saga: News from around our 50 states," 16 Mar. 2021 Problem is, with so many styles to choose from, finding the right treatment for your home can be the design equivalent to a needle in a haystack. Kelsey Mulvey, Southern Living, "How To Choose the Best Window Treatments," 10 Mar. 2021 Stacey Monroe barely flinched as the nurse jabbed a needle into her right arm. Dallas News, "A year without: How Texas survived the challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic," 10 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But that has not stopped Fox News from trying to needle the late night establishment. Stephen Battaglio Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Greg Gutfeld goes after late night laughs for Fox News," 5 Apr. 2021 For communities of color, there are other factors to consider, Manning said, including access to vaccination clinics, needle phobias and literacy. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Tuskegee isn't the only reason why some Black people are hesitant to get the coronavirus vaccine," 30 Mar. 2021 President Biden continued to needle his Russian counterpart on Friday, not ruling out Vladimir Putin’s challenge to a debate and promising to slap new sanctions on Moscow. John T. Bennett, Washington Examiner, "Biden does not turn down Putin's challenge to a live, televised debate," 19 Mar. 2021 Once a Rays coach, Baldelli didn't let the chance to needle his old boss pass. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, "Twins outfielder Brent Rooker doesn't wait long to signal return to power," 1 Mar. 2021 Opt out of responding to people who needle you into frustration or cover over their insults with thinly-veiled jokes. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for February 26, 2021," 26 Feb. 2021 Your family members may continue to needle you about him. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Family contacts with abusive ex continue to hurt," 18 Jan. 2021 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about needle

Time Traveler for needle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for needle

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Needle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/needle. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on needle

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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