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 Uncle Bill lights the firework fuse and scurries away, everybody is on pins and needles until, suddenly and dramatically, the fuse goes out. Dave Barry, miamiherald, "Classic '98: All fired up for the Fourth," 30 June 2014 However, aura can also cause other sensory issues, like pins and needles, weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body, or hearing things that don’t exist, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "How to Tell if Vestibular Migraines Are Why You Get Dizzy So Often," 12 July 2018 Ahead of Comey’s first public interview, with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on 20/20, everyone was on pins and needles wondering what he’d say … something ABC’s social media team took full advantage of. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: How Was Your Comey Week?," 22 Apr. 2018 So steal a little musical inspiration from The Vampire Diaries'Kat Graham (side note: who else is on pins and needles about Thursday's episode?? Neha Gandhi, Seventeen, "Celeb Workout Playlist of the Week: Kat Graham," 9 May 2011 The Little Mermaid collab is good news for anyone who's been waiting on pins and needles for a live-action remake of the film — which doesn't look like will be happening any time soon. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Disney Releases Pool Float Collection Inspired by "The Little Mermaid"," 9 Apr. 2018 The women's team sprint was coming down to a sprint finish for the gold medal Wednesday at the Winter Olympics, and like so many Alaskans who were watching with bated breath, Kikkan Randall was on pins and needles. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "A fairy-tale finish at the Olympics for Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins," 22 Feb. 2018 She and daughter-vocalist-trumpet player Susan Lankin-Watts appeared at public and private events, often with a Philadelphia band called Fabulous Shpielkes, the Yiddish word for the feeling of pins and needles. Bonnie L. Cook,, "Elaine Hoffman Watts, 85, who performed klezmer folk music," 27 Sep. 2017 The first time Tom came to the base, which also was their first meeting, David was on pins and needles, wanting to be sure everything would be suitably impressive. Ron Miscavige, Esquire, "What I Know About Scientology, and My Son, David Miscavige," 3 May 2016

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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Dictionary Entries near pins and needles

pin rod

pin rot


pins and needles

pin seal



Statistics for pins and needles

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for pins and needles

The first known use of pins and needles was in 1813

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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

Comments on pins and needles

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something that serves to warn or remind

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