Meaning of NEEDLE in English

I. ˈnēd ə l noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English nedle, from Old English nǣdl; akin to Old High German nādala needle, Old Norse nāl, Gothic nethla; all from a prehistoric Germanic noun akin to Old High German nājan to sew, Latin nēre to spin, Greek nēn to spin, nēma thread, Sanskrit snāyu sinew



(1) : a small slender rodlike instrument for hand sewing that has a round or elongated eye for thread at one end and a blunt or sharp point at the other and that is made usually of steel or bone in straight or curved form

(2) : a similar steel instrument for machine sewing that has an eye in the pointed end and is shaped at the other end for attachment to the machine

b. : any of various devices for carrying thread and making stitches in crocheting, knitting, netting, or hooking — see knitting needle


(1) : a pointed slender instrument used for sewing or puncturing tissues : surgical needle

(2) : a slender hollow instrument that has one end pointed and beveled and the other enlarged and modified for attachment to various devices and that is used chiefly for introducing material into or removing material from the body parenterally

intravenous needle

(3) : a hollow device designed to contain radioactive material

(4) : electric knife

2. : a slender usually sharp-pointed indicator on a dial instrument (as a magnetic compass or an ammeter) ; specifically : magnetic needle


a. : a slender pointed object resembling a needle: as

(1) : a pointed crystal

(2) : a sharp rock

(3) : obelisk

Cleopatra's needle

b. : a needle-shaped leaf (as of the pine, spruce, larch)

4. : a short stout timber, steel, or iron beam passing through a hole in a wall especially to support the end of a shore


a. : etching needle

b. : a slender piece of a jewel or of steel, wood, or fiber with a rounded tip used in a phonograph to transmit vibrations from the record — called also stylus


[by shortening]

archaic : needlewoman


a. : one of a set of parallel wires found in knitting machines and jacquard looms

b. : a usually platinum wire used for transferring microorganisms into culture mediums


a. : part of the knotting mechanism of a grain binder

b. : a slender tapering rod set in a bore during charging and then withdrawn leaving an opening for the priming, fuse, or squib — called also pricker

c. : a slender pointed rod controlling a fine inlet or outlet (as in a valve)

d. : a slender pointed rod mounted on a handle and used to sort or to arrange hand-sorted punch cards

- needle in a haystack

II. verb

( needled ; needled ; needling -d( ə )liŋ ; needles )

transitive verb

1. : to sew with a needle

fabrics which are woven, needled and printed — W.C.Smith


a. : to pierce or treat with or as if with a needle

needling a blister until it bursts — James Baldwin

the pangs of terror now needled his soul — James Hogg

b. : to puncture, operate on, or inject (as a person) with a needle

needling a cataract

needles the population against polio


a. : to push (something) through like a needle

words … needled into one's self — Christopher Morley

have to talk fast to needle it in between … speeches — National Home Monthly

needling their way through a crowd

b. : to put a needle beam under a wall for support

4. : to vex by repeated sharp prods or gibes : goad or incite often to a specified action

thoroughly enjoys needling his stuffy relatives — James Gray

needled him into it — James Jones

5. : to increase the interest and attractiveness of : add strength or pungency to

needle a speech with humor

needled with irony

specifically : to strengthen (a beverage) by adding raw alcohol

needle beer

intransitive verb

: to sew or embroider with a needle

groups of women … needling away — W.M.Thackeray

III. adjective

Etymology: needle (I)

chiefly Britain , of a game or athletic contest : highly important : crucial

the most heated moments of a needle match — Rugger

IV. noun

: a teasing or gibing remark

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.