needle in a haystack

Idioms & Phrases

needle in a haystack

An item that is very hard or impossible to locate, as in Looking for that screw in Dean's workshop amounts to looking for a needle in a haystack. Originating in the early 1500s, with meadow instead of haystack, this metaphor exists in many other languages as well.

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