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be like finding a needle in a haystack

To be very difficult to locate. Said especially of something small or hidden among similar things. I really need to tidy up my office. Whenever I need a specific document, it's like finding a needle in a haystack! Trying to find my contact lens on the floor was like finding a needle in a haystack.

find (one's) (own) level

To reach one's level of proficiency, comfort, or competency in a particular area. I'm so impressed with the interns—they've really found their level now. It takes time to find your own level as a teacher, but you'll get there—we all do.
See also: find, level

find (one's) feet

To reach a level of comfort in a new situation. It took a while, but I've finally found my feet in my job. I know you're nervous, but all freshmen are—you'll find your feet at school, don't worry.
See also: feet, find

find (one's) place

1. To find the point at which one had stopped reading, in order to start reading again. A: "Oh geez, my bookmark must have fallen out." B: "Good luck finding your place again—Bleak House is only 900 pages long!" And so, in 1890, Dr. Tuttenberg discovered that… excuse me, I just need to find my place again in my notes.
2. To find a job, setting, or situation that compliments one's unique gifts, interests, or personality very well. It took me a while to find my place in college, but joining the literary magazine was a good start for an English major. You'll find your place eventually, don't worry. I may be a therapist now, but I spent my 30s working in the business world.
See also: find, place

find (one's) tongue

To regain the ability to speak, especially after feeling frightened, nervous, or at a loss for words. It took him a minute, but Pete found his tongue again after we startled him at his surprise party. The little boy, who had been huddled nervously at the back, found his tongue and told the detectives what happened.
See also: find, tongue

find (one's) voice

1. To find one's distinctive style or vision of artistic expression. I think this is your best story yet, Betsy—you've really found your voice as a writer. It takes time to find your voice, but I'm confident you'll get there by the end of our photography class.
2. To regain the ability to speak, especially after something frightening or startling has happened. It took him a minute, but Pete found his voice again after we startled him at his surprise party.
See also: find, voice

find a happy medium

To discover, develop, or contrive a healthy balance compromise or acceptable compromise between two extremes. It can be difficult for working mothers to find a happy medium between maintaining their careers and caring for their families. The mediator's role is to help both parties to reach a deal that finds a happy medium.
See also: find, happy, medium

find another gear

To achieve a higher level of function, operation, or performance. Commonly applied to athletes. It's been a hard-fought game, and the team is going to have to find another gear if they want to force overtime. You guys need to find another gear creatively if you want to break into such a highly competitive market.
See also: another, find, gear

find common ground

To find shared ideas, interests, or beliefs, especially between people who often disagree. I was worried when my boyfriend and uncle started arguing over their different political views, but luckily they found common ground when discussing their favorite TV shows.
See also: common, find, ground

find God

To embrace a certain religion or a spiritual connection. Ted's become a completely different person since he found God.
See also: find, god

find it in (one's) heart to (do something)

To be able to convince oneself do something despite one's reluctance. I know I hurt you, but I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
See also: find, heart, to

find out

1. To learn something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "find" and "out." Guess what I found out? Greg is getting the promotion after all! You know, I'm not sure what his phone number is, but I'll find out for you.
2. To learn of or expose someone's misleading, deceptive, or underhanded actions or intentions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "find" and "out." Well, don't leave any evidence behind, or they'll find you out.
3. To discover that someone is not home. A noun or pronoun can be used between "find" and "out." Yeah, I tried to go visit Sheila, but I found her out.
See also: find, out

find out a thing or two (about someone or something)

To learn the facts or several pieces of information (about someone or something). You'll find out a thing or two about New Yorkers once you start working in the Big Apple. Jeff's a real movie buff, so if you want to find out a thing or two about the history of cinema, you should ask him.
See also: find, out, someone, thing, two

find out how the land lies

To make observations about or come to understand a particular state of affairs or the way a situation exists or has developed, especially before taking any decisive or definitive action. Given the turbulent nature of this market, I think it would be prudent for us to find out how the land lies before we agree to invest in your company. I'm just finding out how the land lies between my parents before I make any solid plans to come visit them.
See also: find, how, land, lie, out

find the root of the problem

To find or ascertain the cause of a particular problem or issue. The plumber has found the root of the problem, and it doesn’t sound too costly to fix, thank goodness.
See also: find, of, problem, root

find the time

To devote time in one's busy schedule to do something; to make the time to do something. When am I supposed to find the time to make cupcakes for the school bake sale? I have two important meetings today at work! I try to find the time to meditate every day.
See also: find, time

like finding a needle in a haystack

Said when one is searching for something that is very difficult to locate, especially something very small or hidden among many things. I really need to tidy up my office. Whenever I need a specific document, it's like finding a needle in a haystack! Trying to find my contact lens on the floor was like finding a needle in a haystack.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

find someone out

1. to discover that someone is not at home. We knocked on their door and found them out. Sam found Frank out when he arrived to collect the debt.
2. to discover something surprising or shocking about someone. I don't want them to find me out. We found her out despite her deviousness.
See also: find, out

find something out

to discover facts about someone or something; to learn a fact. I found something out that you might be interested in. We found out that the Smiths are going to sell their house.
See also: find, out
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

find out

1. Discover through examination or inquiry, as in You can find out his phone number by looking in the book. [Mid-1500]
2. Expose, detect the true nature or character of, especially in an offense. For example, Cheaters risk being found out. [c. 1700]
See also: find, out
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

find common ground

COMMON If two people or groups who generally disagree find common ground, they find a particular subject or opinion that they agree about. The participants seem unable to find common ground on the issue of agriculture. Both leaders were keen to stress that they were seeking to find common ground. Note: You can also say that people or groups are on common ground. Mike and I were on common ground. We both wanted what was in the best interests of the company.
See also: common, find, ground
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

find God

experience a religious conversion or awakening.
See also: find, god
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

find out

1. To ascertain something, as through examination or inquiry: I found out the phone number by looking it up. We found the answer out in the dictionary. I'm not sure of the location of the bus stop, but I'll try to find out.
2. To detect or expose the true nature or character of something or someone: My plan to trick my roommate ended when he found me out. Liars risk being found out.
See also: find, out
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

needle in a haystack, (like finding) a

An item that is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find. This term dates from the sixteenth century, although “haystack” at first appeared as “meadow” (in Sir Thomas More’s Works, 1532), “bottle of hay” (Robert Greene, 1592), or “load of hay” (John Taylor, 1619). The same metaphor exists in numerous languages.
See also: needle
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The data reveal that the unemployed over-estimate their likelihood of finding a job in the near future.
Several studies have assessed the prevalence of incidental/non-PE findings made by CTPA in the general population [8-13], with the discovery of relevant non-PE CT findings ranging from 7.6% to 57% of scans, depending on categorization schemata [8-13].
After selecting tennis and bezel diamond bracelets, designers simply need to choose diamonds and/or precious stones and set them in the mountings,” said Zeev Pasternak, Pasternak Findings owner.
No significant findings. But in calling in the cynical finding, you can literally feel yourself teeing up the "emergent--ASAP" follow up exam.
Under the NRC reactor oversight process, inspection findings are assigned a color indicating its safety significance.
District Court in Concord, also demands that Findings install a vault custodian at the store, to secure and protect the banks co-signed precious metals.
Sonographic findings were classified as normal, suspicious, or equivocal.
Based upon the remaining course projects and processes, as well as the Edublog Midterm Questionnaire findings, the edublog was further developed and updated.
Findings on the remainder of his head and neck examination were unremarkable.
She adds that the findings could lead to new ways to test antiaging drugs.
The findings underscore the need for second-trimester abortion to remain legal and accessible, the researchers note, as "many women seeking second-trimester abortions simply lacked pregnancy symptoms or were unaware of their last menstrual period and therefore took a long time to recognize and test for pregnancy" Public health measures that may reduce the prevalence of second-trimester abortions include improving access to contraceptives, providing low-cost home pregnancy tests and educating patients about the importance of keeping track of menstrual periods.
"Then the market research team will help the commercial or research and development (R&D) sides setup the methodology, select vendors, track study and provide the findings, implications and recommendations to those who commissioned the research.
"The findings are not a huge surprise to us given the threat from terrorism that we face today," says Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager with SFPE.
As a result, the activities have been studied repeatedly, yielding numerous findings and recommendations over time.