"pins & needles"?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Oct 10 18:45:02 UTC 2002

My mother would have used "Pins and needles" to describe anxiety/eagerness of some anticipated event.  I doubt whether she or I would use it in a case as grim as the citation referred to.  I doubt that she was on "pins and needles" while nursing her mother in her last illness.  My image is not being able to sit still, as if sitting on ps & ns.

The ILGWU, if I recall correctly, put on a musical revue in the 30s called "Pins and Needles" that was very successful, though it must have been largely an amateur production.  I can look it up, if there is demand.  ILGWU = International Ladies Garment Workers Union, by the way.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2002 2:27 pm
Subject: Re: "pins & needles"?

> The evidence on "pins & needles" seems pretty conclusive and,
> hell, now
> that I've had half a day to think about it, I realize that I've
> probablyused it in just this way myself.  "Tenterhooks" still
> seems more natural to
> me, but clearly that has faded out of common parlance.
> Tenterhooks, by the
> way, are little hooks ranged along the side of a framework, as in
> a curtain
> stretcher, to hold material taut.
> A. Murie

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