a stack of hay with a conical or ridged top, built up in the mowed field so as to prevent the accumulation of moisture and promote drying.
Also, especially British, hayrick.

1425–75; late Middle English. See hay, stack

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
haystack or hayrick (ˈheɪˌstæk, ˈheɪˌrɪk)
a large pile of hay, esp one built in the open air and covered with thatch
hayrick or hayrick

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see needle in a haystack.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
When you're looking for a needle in a haystack, best take a magnet.
In other words, the marginal utility curve of increased inputs into education
  is nonlinear and probably haystack shaped.
The aim was to find a revealing brain activity that many people shared-a needle
  in a haystack of frenzied signals.
Needle in a haystack, as it were, except that you have only the vaguest of
  notions as to whether there's actually a needle there.
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