on pins and needles

pins and needles

noun
1.
a tingly, prickly sensation in a limb that is recovering from numbness.
Idioms
2.
on pins and needles, in a state of nervous anticipation: The father-to-be was on pins and needles.

Origin:
1800–10

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pins and needles
 
n
1.  a tingling sensation in the fingers, toes, legs, etc, caused by the return of normal blood circulation after its temporary impairment
2.  on pins and needles in a state of anxious suspense or nervous anticipation

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

on pins and needles definition


In a state of anxiety or tense expectation: “Jackie was on pins and needles waiting to hear about her job application.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

on pins and needles

Nervously anxious, as in He was on pins and needles, waiting for the test results. The graphic expression pins and needles for the tingling sensation experienced in recovering from numbness was transferred to a feeling of marked mental uneasiness about 1800.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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