Green’s Dictionary of Slang

needle n.

1. (later use US) the penis; cits. 1606, 1720, 1793 are double entendres.

[UK]Return from Parnassus Pt II II iii: I am her needle, she is my adamant, She is my fair rose, I her unworthy prick.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Love’s Cure I ii: Why my young Master or Mistress, Madam or Don, or what you will, what have you to do with [...] pricking on a Clout all Day? You have a better Needle, I know, and might make better Work, if you had the grace to use it.
[UK]T. Nabbes Covent Garden I vi: He means you should lie under him [...] Indeed, Mistris, ’tis a cold corner, pray turne it to the South, and let my needle run in your Diall.
Crafty Whore 14: I would not let his trembling needle touch that Pole its point stood against with so much vigour.
[UK]Rochester ‘A Satire which the King took out of his Pocket’ Works (1721) 20: The Seaman’s Needle nimbly points the Pole; / But thine still turns to ev’ry craving Hole.
[UK]Dorset ‘On Dolly Chamberlain, A Seamstress’ Works of Rochester, Roscommon, Dorset (1720) 26: In Revenge I will stitch / Up the Hole next her Breech, / With a Needle as long as my Arm.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy VI 93: Sometimes I am a Taylor, / And work with thread that’s strong Sir; / I have a fine great Needle, About two handfuls long Sir.
[UK]‘Capt. Samuel Cock’ Voyage to Lethe 32: A certain Dampness and Sluggishness in her, [...] depriv’d the Needle in a manner of all Operation.
Rambler’s Mag. June 220/2: Heaven have mercy upon all honest young gentle-women who are obliged to earn their bread by the prick of their needles.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Sprigs of Laurel 14: Romping miss at boarding school, / Shuttlecock play and swing so high; / Needle wasn’t her working tool, / But knew how to make a nice dirt pye.
[UK] ‘The Drummer’s Stick’ in Frisky Vocalist 4: The tailor’s wife was fill’d with grief, [...] Her husband, to give her relief, / Had not given her his needle for a month or more.
[UK] ‘Sam Swipes’ in Cuckold’s Nest 21: A tailor then came, with his needle so long, / And two balls of cotton to do the job strong, / He examined her opening, and quickly thought fit / To go to work at her, to stop up her ---.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 49: Broche, m. The penis; ‘the needle’.
[US]Wesley Wilson & Harry McDaniels ‘Our Family Doctor’ [lyrics] He’s some vaccinator, yes, he’s a vaccinatin’ hound; / When he sticks his needle into your skin, / You can tell the world it’s too bad, Jim.
[US]Walter Davis ‘I Think You Need a Shot’ [lyrics] All right take it easy here mama, while’s I stick my needle in.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 300: I would wait quietly for the answering needle bath.
[US]C. Himes Pinktoes (1989) 177: He certainly isn’t [your husband], dearie, from what I last saw of your husband’s little needle [...] What does he do with it, sew you up?
[US] in P.R. Runkel Law Unto Themselves 252: Looks like I musta pissed with my needle pointed up toward twelve o’clock.
[US] in Delacoste & Alexander Sex Work (1988) 71: Her old man’s needle.
Urban Dict. [Internet] needle A deregatory term used to imply a lack of genital size in the pants. syn. Pencil dick You have a real needle.

2. (also rank needle) a confidence trickster [play on SE sharp/sharp n.1 (1); SE rank, extreme].

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: needle a sharp fellow, a sharper, a cheat.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 178: The needles at the west End of the Town, who must sport a genteel outside, no matter at whose suit.

3. (orig. tailoring jargon) resentment, bitterness, irritation; often in phrs. below.

[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 145: It was a fight with the gloves. But there was a bit of needle in it.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 60: The ‘needle’ was a sensation that had never troubled his young life.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 162: The needle fight of the century! Ali the Terrible Turk makes a sensational come-back!!!
[UK](con. 1937) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 161: The first fight had been a good one, plenty of needle and a popular decision.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 21: The Bunko people are really carrying a needle for the Rube.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 80: You sit there [...] and stick the needle into me with June this and June that and all the rest of the squared up shit. [...] You stink, Doc, stink. You give me the needle.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 194: Needle, the Resentment: ‘It’s plain he’s got the needle to me.’.
[Can]O.D. Brooks Legs 43: Bryn ignored the needle once again.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 140: Then you get a blackhead crew, five six Tommy soldiers, an’ you know they ain’t ge’in in [...] So thass where the needle start.
[UK]T. Black Gutted 32: Johnny Johnstone was all needle; those boys have my card marked.

4. pertaining to weapons.

(a) a club, a ‘life preserver’.

Indianapolis Jrnl 28 Feb. 3/3: The life preserver he carried is a ‘needle’.

(b) a knife.

[US](con. 1910s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 117: A knife is a ‘needle’.
[UK]A. Harding in Samuel East End Und. 280: They call it a needle now. Covers the lot up to a carving.

5. pertaining to drugs.

(a) a hypodermic, a syringe, thus constr. with the, generic for narcotic use/addiction.

[US]Minneapolis Jrnl 14 Oct. 6/2: He started out to teach the other inmates of the dormitory to use ‘the needle’.
[US]Detroit Free Press (MI) 26 Apr. 82/3: ‘Coke’ didn’t seem to satisfy me like it once did. So it was back to the morphine and the needle.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 175: You went down to Charlie’s dope parlour, and jabbed a needle into yourself, or took it some other way.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 140: Nine out of every ten crooks are drug-addicts. They snuff it and smoke it and use the needle, for the most part.
[UK]A. Christie Body in the Library (1959) 151: I want that needle!
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 248: He knew how to use the needle. He had been on the junk, off and on, in prison and out.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 92: ‘Not to mention the needle.’ She looked puzzled. ‘The needle.’ ‘All the shady ones use dope on their clients.’.
[US]N. Spinrad Bug Jack Barron 10: Hate tubes hate nurses hate needles.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 93: Mike had taken to using the needle, but never when we were working.
[UK]T. Wilkinson Down and Out 81: Sid’s into the needle as well, now.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 130: I’ve lost some good friends in Sydney to the needle.
[US]L. Pettiway Workin’ It 185: When we snort it take a long time. When I do it with the needle it’s just like that.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 344: You know what keeps thoese whitebread kids from doing heroin? The needle [...] They’re afraid of AIDS and hepatitis.

(b) in attrib. use of sense 4(c), resulting from drug use .

[US]Ogden Standard (UT) 3 Apr. 13/6: I became known around the dives in Chicago as ‘The Needle King’.
[US]Perrysburg Jrnl (Wood Co., OH) 22 May 2/2: This is no needle monologue, but the goods, and I have the Wad to back it.

(c) the shaking and twitching that accompanies withdrawal from heavy cocaine usage [one’s reactions equate with those of one who has been jabbed with a needle].

[UK]E. Murphy Black Candle 226: ‘I can give up cocaine,’ he continued, ‘but when anyone speaks to me of doing so, my body starts to ache and I get “the needles”’ – that is to say a mixture of nerves and muscles.’.
[UK]F. Tuohy Inside Dope 195: ‘Helldust’, ‘coke’, ‘the needles’ [...] all are of American origin.
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 313: needles. The nervous and muscular twitchings induced by the abstinence of an addict from cocaine.

(d) attrib. use of sense 4b, pertaining to narcotics and their injection.

[US]W. Burroughs letter 5 May in Harris (1993) 83: Still smoke O once a week. It is different from needle kicks.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 73: She was not a ‘street dealer.’ She was, in the argot of the needle scene, a ‘house connect.’.

(e) (US prison) constr. with the, a lethal injection, as used in legal executions.

[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Big Jab: Lethal injection. Also, ‘stainless steel ride,’ ‘doctorate in applied chemistry,’ or the ‘needle.’.
[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 9: Do you really want to roll the dice for your life when you have this definite deal in front of you? Two years for sure versus maybe a chance of taking the needle.

6. (US) repetitious nagging and complaining; aggressive teasing.

[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 194: Everybody was putting the needle on me.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 5 Nov. in Proud Highway (1997) 409: A good-natured needle should stir up several good replies.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 240: Enough needle. Damn liberals don’t know when to quit.
[UK]Observer Rev. 9 Apr. 16: This sort of programme [...] without edge, without needle, it is, frankly, totally pointless.

7. (US) blackmail.

[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Phoney Shakedown’ Dan Turner - Hollywood Detective Feb. [Internet] Who is this cookie that’s slipping you the needle? What’s she got on you?

In compounds

embroidering needle (n.)

(UK und.) a short crowbar used in house-breaking.

[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 20 Feb. n.p.: There was an Iron Betty found in the Prisoners house, which was lost by a Butcher, which the Thieves call an Embroidering Needle.

Pertaining to the penis

In compounds

needle woman (n.) [SE woman]

a prostitute.

[UK]T. Carlyle Discourse on the Nigger Question 25: We have thirty thousand distressed needlewomen, – the most of whom cannot sew a reasonable stitch; for they are in fact, Mutinous Serving-maids [...] and at last are on the street, with five hungry senses.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
needlework (n.) [SE work]

sexual intercourse.

[UK]Tongue Combatants 17: Choyce Needle work and other Arts, / Attaind with care and cost. / My infamy commands those Parts / Must now be kept from Boast.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

In phrases

pick a needle without eye (v.) [a SE needle without an eye is useless]

(W.I.) of a young woman, to give oneself in marriage to a man whom one knows will be of no use as a sexual partner.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
thread the needle (v.) (also play at thread the needle)

to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]‘Cambridg Libell’ in May & Bryson Verse Libel 338: A cleark doth thread her needle often, / For she doth daylye stiche.
[UK]Sportive Wit ‘O That I Durst’ in Bold (1979) 157: O that I durst but thread your needle, lady / There would I work until I had made a baby.
[UK] ‘Fun of the Fair’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 106: Servant maids and ’prentice boys; / At threade the needle is all their joys.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 1 Nov. 2/2: There was a young lady of Cheadle, / Was deeply beloved by the beadle, / But she scoffod at his prayers / And gave herself airs, / And judiciously threaded his needle.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 49: Brochier. To copulate; ‘to play at thread-the-needle’.

Pertaining to narcotics

In compounds

needle fiend (n.) (also needle jabber, ...knight, ...pumper) [fiend n. (1)] (US drugs)

1. an intravenous drug addict.

[US]H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 323: Dempsey was a needle jabber, an aristocrat of the drug addicts.
[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 115: I have met every kind of a crook there is [...] needle pumpers and snow snifters.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 106/1: needle-fiend. 1. An addict who takes narcotics through the hypodermic.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 164: needle-fiend A hypodermic user of narcotics.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 144/1: Needle-knight. A drug addict who uses a hypodermic needle or any crude substitute.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore 129: Needle fiend – A drug vassal who takes his master hypodermically [...] Needle jabber – Same as Needle fiend.

2. one who fetishizes the needle and the mechanics of injection.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 106/1: needle-fiend. [...] 2. An addict who makes a kind of fetish out of the needle and enjoys dallying with the needle when using it.
needle freak (n.) [-freak sfx]

1. (US drugs) an intravenous drug user who is as stimulated by the act of injection as by the action of the drug.

[US]L. Wolf Voices from the Love Generation 6: I’m not a needle-freak.
[UK]Gandalf’s Garden 6 n.d. 11: needle-freaks: those who have got to enjoy the habit of injecting themselves for the pleasure of the needle, ending up injecting anything.
[US]H. Feldman et al. Angel Dust 131: Some ‘needle freaks’ are interested in the injection process as much as whatever is available to put through the needle.
[UK]Indep. 12 July 5: Many addicts who were given orally taken methadone still felt a need to buy street heroin, he said. ‘Some people are needle freaks.’.
Dalton Vrij ‘Tying Off’ on Inter-zone.org [Internet] Once flagged one simply squeezed the binky and down she went, to reregister just stop squeezing and back came the blood, effort less needlefreaking. No chance of pushing the whole rig down and through, very easy to do with a plunger.

2. a prostitute’s sadistic client who derives pleasure from hiring a woman with large breasts and paying her for every needle she permits him to stick into her flesh.

[US]in Oui mag. Mar.
needlehead (n.) [-head sfx (4)]

(US drugs) a narcotics addict.

L.A. Weekly 13 Jan. at backpages.com [Internet] And like I’m pretty sure I mentioned before, [...] jaded needleheads will show off their rotting yellow junkie teeth in smiles at this stuff.
needle man (n.) [the use of a hypodermic syringe in both occupations]

1. (drugs) a drug addict.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 144/1: Needle-man. 1. A drug addict who uses a hypodermic needle.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[Aus]Monster Voodoo Machine on Burn [EP] ‘Needle Man’ [song title] Junkie man lyin’ down on the floor he ain’t never gonna shoot no more.

2. (US) a doctor.

[US] in DARE.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter 2 Apr. [Internet] Gripping Nate Wood’s foot, Dr. Isaac Pope slides an IV needle into the 7-month-old infant’s instep. [...] He doesn’t know it, nor do the countless other children Pope has tended, but the needle man is the proverbial pillar of the community.
needle neddie (n.) [? neddy n.1 (3), a horse, with pun on horse n. (7)]

(Aus. prison) the spoon in which one heats the heroin/water mixture prior to making an injection.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Needle neddie. Spoon for preparing narcotics for injection. Neddie may refer to heroin via ‘horse’.
needle palace (n.) (also needle house)

(US drugs) anywhere that narcotics drug users congregate to inject themselves.

[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 35: Blue still keeps his points [...] in that satchel, carrying it with him everywhere for fear of losing it in the needle palace. [Ibid.] 68: You can walk a block or two to the established needle house.
needle park (n.) [orig. the traffic island at Broadway and 71st Street; the term was popularized by James Mills’s 1966 book The Panic In Needle Park]

(drugs) a variety of locations in New York City, small oases of grass in the larger world of streets and buildings, frequented by heroin users.

[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 19: Of the hundreds of locations outside Harlem where addicts buy drugs, one of the most typical is at the corner of 71st Street where Broadway pushes through Amsterdam Avenue. [...] To the drug addicts it is ‘Needle Park.’ Nothing justifies the word ‘park’ except four or five park benches stuck together on a tiny concrete island at the center of the intersection.
[US]S.J. Perelman letter 22 Dec. in Crowther Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 273: I’m living in a very nice flat [...] far away from Needle Park, mugging, and everything we deplore in Manhattan.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 174: He hooks up with some broad by Needle Park.
needle shy (adj.)

(US drugs) of an addict, phobic of needles.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 106/1: needle-shy. A phobia, either permanent or temporary, which manifests itself in a revulsion against using the hypodermic needle or seeing it used.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
needleworker (n.) [SE worker]

(US) a narcotics addict.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 59: (The Judge And The Boys Are Off For A Vacation) Curlock Holmes expert needle worker.

In phrases

hit the needle (v.)

(drugs) to inject a drug.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 117: When the opium is taken away from him [...] he hits the needle and becomes a ‘hypo’.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 289: He’s hitting the needle again.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 12: Hit the needle — To inject a drug.
needled up (adj.)

(US) addicted to narcotics.

[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 220: We think about them the way we think about old-time yeggs or needled-up punks.
on the needle

(drugs) using narcotic drugs.

[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Drunk, Disorderly & Dead’ Dan Turner — Hollywood Detective Apr.[Internet] ‘I—I’ve found out he’s . . . on the needle,’ she whimpered woefully.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 279: The dealer’s on the needle.
[UK]C. MacInnes City of Spades (1964) 81: Hamilton [...] how long you been on that needle?
[US]N.Y. Times 3 June 19: None of us has been in prison. None has been on the needle.
[UK]T. Parker Frying-Pan 147: I’m high, I’m connected, I’m on the needle.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 343: on the needle: Being a narcotics injecter.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 172: Gary [...] looking so damn bad, growing thin on that needle.
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 57: I’ve been on the needle since I was ten years old.

Pertaining to irritation

In phrases

cop the needle (v.)

to be annoyed.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 235: To ‘cop the needle’ is to become vexed or annoyed.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Tricky Little Trilby [lyrics] ‘Those are hardly ideal feet,’ he said / Then I copped the needle on the spot .
get the needle (v.) (also get the dead needle, have the spike)

to become annoyed.

[UK]Sporting Times 5 Jan. 5/4: At last old Barney got the needle and demanded [...] that the boy should be taught music.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Jul. 14/1: ‘Pendragon’ must have ‘got the needle’ when he wrote in a recent issue of the Referee – ‘The many friends of the Referee in Australia who have literally inundated us with details of the match between Beach and Hanlan by this mail will please hereby accept the cordial thanks, for Self and Co., of Pendragon.’.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 20 July 2/4: Ned had got the needle proper, I’d the spike myself a bit.
[UK]Pink & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Chance Your Luck [lyrics] The needle never get, though you even learn the pet / Is engaged.
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 41: Wot ’as ’e got the needle abaht?
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 July 17/1: The rouseabouts got ‘the needle’ because the shearers got ‘bloo-mong’ for dinner and they didn’t.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 4 Dec. 4/8: These pomes wot’s written about the girls / Gives me the needle much.
[UK]G. Squiers Aerbut Paerks, of Baernegum 2: Ower old un daint ’arf get the needle.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Final Count 995: In fact, in sporting parlance [...] we had got the needle.
[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 243: Got the needle with the Kosher boys over the dogs.
[UK]F. Norman in Sun. Graphic 20 July in Norman’s London (1969) 19: The Soho characters have been pushed out by the tradespeople, and they have got the dead needle about it.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 197: When accosted by an irritating person who ‘gets their goat’ or ‘gets their needle’, they complain ‘Why don’t you drop dead?’.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 92: He had got the dead needle about everything.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 135: When I wouldn’t buy any more for him Redmond got the needle.
[UK]T. Parker Frying-Pan 148: They discuss someone [...] ‘making a hash of things’ or ‘getting the dead needle’.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 194: Needle, the Resentment: ‘It’s plain he’s got the needle to me.’.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘May the Force be with You’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] He’s probably still got the needle over that time you nicked him!
[UK] in G. Tremlett Little Legs 145: I’m upset. I’ve got the needle.
give someone the needle (v.) (also ...the spike)

1. to irritate.

[UK] ‘’Arry on Niggers’ in Punch 15 Mar. 113/2: Well, that gave me the needle, dear boy.
[UK]E.J. Milliken ‘Cad’s Calendar’ in Punch Almanack n.p.: Dowds to guy and pooty ones’ to wheedle, / And give all rival chaps the needle.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 26 Oct. 4/4: He gives the girls the spike by his continual comparison of Colonial institutions with things in other countries.
[UK] ‘’Arry in ’Arrygate’ in Punch 24 Sept. 133/2: They call this the ‘Needle Bath’, Charlie. It give me the needle fust off.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Minor Dialogues 120: It was the people at it give me the needle.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 17 Mar. 4/7: These ‘surprise’ visits of Royalty to hospitals give us the plain needle.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 73: You and me, don’t you know? In the same boat. Soft soaping. Give you the needle that would.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 231: To have her flat screwed just like any steamer would give her the needle badly.
[US] in M. Daly Profile of Youth 233: If the lad is really crushed he’ll reply, ‘Hey, you gave me the needle!’.
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 193: What’s give you the needle? [...] What the ’ell’s biting you?
[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 53: The needle he had given old Abby was worth the trial.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 55: I was giving the needle to this fugh-faced, dessicated old bastard.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 192: She is now giving me the needle in spades.
[UK]Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 96: He, she or it may [...] ‘give you the needle’.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 31: They give us the needle. Call Duane nigger. Imply to me I suck his cock.

2. (US) to cuckold.

[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 142: She was keeping a big masculine doll on my money. When I heard she had given me the needle I was furious.

3. (US) to criticise.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]R.L. Pike Mute Witness (1997) 5: You were giving me the needle. The business.
[US]P. Cornwell Blow Fly (2004) 120: She won’t mind giving him the needle.

4. (US) to kill.

[US]J. Ridley Love Is a Racket 410: Don’t worry, Jeffty. I’ll give you the needle quick. You won’t feel a thing.
have the needle (to) (v.) (also have the dead needle)

to be irritated (with someone).

[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 29: The formation of the quarries gave him a chance to work off his spite on a lag he had the ‘needle’ to.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 192: He had the needle to me after that.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 90: This twirl had the needle to one geezer in particular and was really after nicking him.
[UK]F. Norman Fings II ii: My life, they won’t ’alf ’ave the dead needle when they find that missin’.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 44: He had had the needle all right.
put in the needle (v.) (also put the needle in)

to tease.

[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 133: This is the kind of talk I like to hear, when I know they’re putting in the needle in a friendly way.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 134: I had to put the needle in.
take the needle (v.)

(Irish) to get angry.

[UK]Wild Boys of London I 36/1: Don’t take the needle so quick. I was only in fun.
[UK]Eve. Standard 24 Dec. 4, 5: When one, or both, of two proficient antagonists at any sport have taken the needle... the result, nine times out of ten, is an improvement in the exhibition [F&H].
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 54: You’re too quick to take the needle, man.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

needle dick (n.)

see separate entry.

needle dodger (n.)

a dressmaker.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Feb. 12/3: The fashionable firm was driven to this step by the persistent way in which amateur needle-dodgers fingered and turned over and sometimes tore the flimsy creations.
needle-dodging (n.)

dress-making.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Aug. 14/4: The washer-lady, the mangler, and the multitude of stitching sisters move Heaven and earth to have themselves or their bairns taught the pianoforte. [...] But everyone has personal experience of the stitching-she who offers two days’ needle-dodging a week in return for music lessons; and the palmist, the pedagogue in petticoats, and the manicurist, who offer their services for ‘Nelly Bly’ tunings and chromatic scalings.
needle-nose/-nosed (n.)

see separate entry.

needle-point/-pointing (n.)

see separate entry.

needle pusher (n.)

(US) a tailor.

[US]S. Lewis Main Street (1921) 326: He used to be in a tailor shop in Minneapolis (they do say he’s a smart needle-pusher, at that).