pins and needles

plural noun

: 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 All of Douglass’s sons lived in the shadow of their famous father, an old story, to be sure, but living on pins and needles isn’t fun to see. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 8 Feb. 2024 Yasuda is on pins and needles, assuming that the power players are meeting to eventually fire her. Lincee Ray,, 5 May 2023 Made by Suntory, Roku combines sakura flower (or cherry blossom), yuzu peel, sencha tea, Gyokuro green tea and sansho peppers which, like Sichuan peppers, have a numbing effect on the tongue that can feel like pins and needles. Judy Revenaugh, Kansas City Star, 30 Jan. 2024 The listener was on pins and needles wondering if their performance had tumbled or their boss reconsidered. Nathan Furr, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Maybe your foot feels like pins and needles halfway through your elliptical session. Amber Brenza, SELF, 8 Sep. 2023 The editor who tested these often has a pins and needles feeling while walking, but not so when moving around in these supportive everyday sneakers. Sherri Gordon, Health, 28 Aug. 2023 Keep in mind the matter of red wine — no one wants to be on pins and needles all evening as their guests are sipping glasses of crimson pinot while seated on the newly upholstered sofa. Kambry Ruby, Dallas News, 13 Aug. 2023 That sparked heated responses from actors, writers and other members of Hollywood’s creative community who are on pins and needles this week as the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers face a deadline of midnight PT on July 12 to hammer out a new three-year contract. William Earl, Variety, 10 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pins and needles.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1813, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pins and needles was in 1813

Dictionary Entries Near pins and needles

Cite this Entry

“Pins and needles.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

pins and needles

plural noun
: a pricking tingling feeling in an arm or leg that is recovering from numbness

Medical Definition

pins and needles

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