Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The sensation of numbness that occurs in a limb when it "falls asleep" due to pressure on a nerve.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Sleep.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Sleep; the state or condition of being asleep.
  • n. The state or condition of numbness of a part due to pressure on a nerve: as, the obdormition of a limb.

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • People who are not accustomed to the position, should be careful when trying to sit seiza, as the position can reduce blood circulation in the lower limbs, resulting in pain and eventually obdormition, or the limbs "going to sleep."

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Comments

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  • An obs. meaning of the word was simply "to fall asleep", from L. obdormire "to fall asleep". Now that English has a way to convey that meaning in 2 or 3 words (go to sleep, fall asleep, drift off, drop off, etc.), that single tetrasllyabic word has been relegated to a more specific meaning: numbness or "going to sleep" of a limb, etc.

    December 31, 2008

  • A related word is paresthesia, though the two do not appear to be synonymous. The definition for paresthesia involves "a skin sensation, such as burning, prickling, itching, or tingling", but goes on to specify either "usually associated with peripheral nerve damage" or "with no apparent physical cause", neither of which really fits for pins and needles.

    The German term for pins and needles is "Ameisenlaufen", or "running ants", which suggests the English word formication, a phenomenon which appears to be usually drug-related and has nothing to do with making whoopee on the kitchen counter.

    December 13, 2008

  • That ole pins 'n needles feeling!

    May 5, 2008

  • Damn foot is asleep again!

    February 23, 2007