from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, slender implement used for sewing or surgical suturing, made usually of polished steel and having an eye at one end through which a length of thread is passed and held.
  • n. Any one of various other implements, such as one used in knitting or crocheting.
  • n. A slender piece of jewel or steel used to transmit vibrations from the grooves of a phonograph record.
  • n. A slender pointer or indicator on a dial, scale, or similar part of a mechanical device.
  • n. A magnetic needle.
  • n. A hypodermic needle.
  • n. Informal A hypodermic injection; a shot.
  • n. Chiefly Upper Northern U.S. See dragonfly. See Regional Note at dragonfly.
  • n. A narrow stiff leaf, as those of conifers.
  • n. A fine, sharp projection, as a spine of a sea urchin or a crystal.
  • n. A sharp-pointed instrument used in engraving.
  • n. Informal A goading, provoking, or teasing remark or act.
  • transitive v. To prick, pierce, or stitch with a small, slender, sharp-pointed implement.
  • transitive v. Informal To goad, provoke, or tease.
  • transitive v. Slang To increase the alcoholic content of (a beverage).
  • intransitive v. To sew or do similar work with a small, slender, sharp-pointed implement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long, thin, sharp implement usually for piercing such as sewing, or knitting, acupuncture, tattooing, body piercing, medical injections etc.
  • n. A long, thin device for indicating measurements on a dial or graph, e.g. a compass needle.
  • n. A sensor for playing phonograph records, a phonograph stylus.
  • n. A long, pointed leaf found on some conifers.
  • n. The death penalty carried out by lethal injection.
  • v. To pierce with a needle, especially for sewing or acupuncture.
  • v. To tease in order to provoke; to poke fun at.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small instrument of steel, sharply pointed at one end, with an eye to receive a thread, -- used in sewing.
  • n. See Magnetic needle, under Magnetic.
  • n. A slender rod or wire used in knitting; a knitting needle; also, a hooked instrument which carries the thread or twine, and by means of which knots or loops are formed in the process of netting, knitting, or crocheting.
  • n. One of the needle-shaped secondary leaves of pine trees. See Pinus.
  • n. Any slender, pointed object, like a needle, as a pointed crystal, a sharp pinnacle of rock, an obelisk, etc.
  • n. A hypodermic needle; a syringe fitted with a hypodermic needle, used for injecting fluids into the body.
  • n. An injection of medicine from a hypodermic needle; a shot.
  • intransitive v. To form needles; to crystallize in the form of needles.
  • transitive v. To form in the shape of a needle.
  • transitive v. To tease (a person), especially repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To prod or goad (someone) into action by teasing or daring.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form into crystals in the shape of needles.
  • To perform or work with a needle.
  • To shoot in crystallization into the form of needles.
  • n. A small pointed instrument, straight or curved, for carrying a thread through a woven fabric, paper, leather, felt, or other material.
  • n. In a wider sense, any slender pointed instrument shaped like a needle or used in a similar way: as, a knitting-, crochet-, or engraving- needle; a surgeons' needle.
  • n. Anything resembling a needle in shape.
  • n. Specifically— A small piece of steel pointed at both ends, and balanced centrally on a pivot, such as is used in the magnetic compass, in which it points to the magnetic poles, and in the needle-telegraph, in which its deflections, produced by electric currents, are used to give indications. See compass, magnet, dipping-needle, galvanometer, and needle-telegraph.
  • n. A thin rod, usually made of copper, which is inserted in a drill-hole while this is being charged with powder. When the rod is withdrawn, it leaves a space in which can be inserted the tube of rush or grass, or the fuse, by which the charge is ignited. Also called a blasting-needle, or a nail
  • n. In w eaving, a horizontal piece of wire with an eye to receive the lifting-wire in a Jacquard loom.
  • n. A sharp pinnacle of rock; a detached pointed rock
  • n. In chem. and mineralogy, a crystal shaped like a needle; an aciform crystal.
  • n. In zool, a slender, sharp spicule; an aciculum.
  • n. In bot, a needle-shaped leaf, as of a conifer: as, a pine -needle.
  • n. In a central-fire hammerlesa gun of the variety called needle-gun, a pointed, slender, longitudinally sliding bolt or wire which, being driven forcibly forward by the spring-mechanism of the lock when the gun is tired, strikes with its front end against a fulminate or fulminating compound attached to the interior of the cartridge. The famous Prussian needle-gun is believed to be the first gun constructed to be fired on this principle. See cut under needle-gun.
  • n. In architecture, a piece of timber laid horizontally and supported on props or shores under a wall or building, etc., which it serves to sustain temporarily while the foundation or the part beneath is being altered, repaired, or underpinned.
  • n. A beam carrying a pulley at the end projecting from a building. The fall is worked by a crab inside the building.
  • n.
  • n. plural In mining: Beams laid across a mine shaft to support a cage.
  • n. Buntons.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the leaf of a conifer
  • n. a sharp pointed implement (usually steel)
  • n. a stylus that formerly made sound by following a groove in a phonograph record
  • v. prick with a needle
  • n. a slender pointer for indicating the reading on the scale of a measuring instrument
  • v. goad or provoke,as by constant criticism


Middle English nedle, from Old English nǣdl.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English nedle, from Old English nædl, from Proto-Germanic *nēþlō, from pre-Germanic *neh₁-tleh₂, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)néh₁- ‘to spin, twist’ (compare Dutch naaien, Welsh nyddu, Latin nēre, Lithuanian snāju, Sanskrit snāyati ‘wraps up, winds’). Related to snood. (Wiktionary)


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