pins and needles

plural noun

Definition of pins and needles

: a pricking tingling sensation in a limb growing numb or recovering from numbness
on pins and needles
: in a nervous or jumpy state of anticipation

Examples of pins and needles in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As Mickelson approached the 18th tee with a two-stroke lead, Mary and Phil Sr. were on pins and needles. San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 May 2021 This research goes a long way toward explaining last summer’s street protests and why the nation was on pins and needles last week while awaiting the George Floyd verdict. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2021 All Stars is definitely more cutthroat, everybody's on pins and needles. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 16 Apr. 2021 Naylor was called out, but the Indians asked for a review, which left everyone on pins and needles and gave Rodón more time to think about his perfect game. Paul Sullivan,, 15 Apr. 2021 Response to the college admission scandal was immediate and swift, with people waiting on pins and needles to see how Huffman, Loughlin, and the other parents involved would be sentenced. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, 17 Mar. 2021 Fast forward to this past week when — keeping it in Canada where teams and fans exist on pins and needles — the Calgary Flames kicked Geoff Ward to the curb and replaced him with the apparently ageless Darryl Sutter. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, 6 Mar. 2021 The authors explain that COVID-19 patients experience neurological symptoms, including headache, altered consciousness, and paraesthesia (pins and needles sensation). Chris Smith, BGR, 6 Mar. 2021 For the next couple of days, Rohan and the jewellers waited on pins and needles. Tori Telfer,, 24 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pins and needles.' 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 pins and needles

1813, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for pins and needles

Time Traveler

The first known use of pins and needles was in 1813

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Dictionary Entries Near pins and needles

pin rod

pin rot


pins and needles

pin seal



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Statistics for pins and needles

Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pins and needles.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for pins and needles

pins and needles


English Language Learners Definition of pins and needles

: the unpleasant tingling feeling in a part of your body (such as your arm or leg) as it becomes numb or recovers from being numb

pins and needles

noun plural

Medical Definition of pins and needles

: a pricking tingling sensation in a limb growing numb or recovering from numbness


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