Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


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.
  • 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.
  • intransitive v. To form needles; to crystallize in the form of needles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.