needle in a haystack

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needle in a haystack

Something that is very difficult to locate. Trying to find my contact lens on the floor was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
See also: haystack, needle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: haystack, needle
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.

a needle in a haystack

something that is almost impossible to find because it is concealed by so many other similar things.
2002 New York Times Magazine Terrorists don't fit a consistent profile: you're looking for a needle in a haystack, but the color and shape of the needle keep changing.
See also: haystack, needle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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 classic literature ?
The wind was fair but fitful, and it was like looking for a needle in a haystack to raise that tiny boat out of the blue immensity.
He and his friends searched nearby, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Or a prosthetic in a sawdust pile.
Pune (Maharashtra) [India] April 26 (ANI/BusinessWire India): With so many credit card variants available in the market, finding the best of the lot can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. To make the task easier for yourself, consider one of the many variants that the Bajaj Finserv RBL Bank SuperCard offers.
"The comment proposed by the court reflects what the committee has had in mind from the start of this process, that prosecutors do not fulfill their legal obligation by producing the exculpatory evidence as a 'needle in a haystack,'" Page said.
Mathew Thomas IT'S like looking for a needle in a haystack, that and what could happen to him exposed to the open waters.
A former Guernsey harbour master said the search was "like looking for a needle in a haystack, when you don't even know where the haystack is".
The PS200million the Government found to speed up payments was a "needle in a haystack" approach to resolving the situation, and much more needs to be done to avoid farmers finding themselves further in debt to the banks.
She said: "Finding me will be like finding a needle in a haystack."
SEARCH PARTY (15) No stars SEARCHING for a gag in this risible brom-com is like searching for a needle in a haystack only to discover, 90 minutes later, there is no needle.
It was impossible, akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Sad indeed.
"We're not searching for a needle in a haystack - we're still trying to define where the haystack is," Australia's deputy defence chief, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, told reporters in Perth.
A lot of 'don'ts' in this list so ladies," finding the right guy to date could seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. But the "needle" is there.
"CEM is a very unique and powerful tool on its own; however, when added to Nectar CMP, the combined solution becomes an absolute game changer in the field of monitoring and management of UC environments." Giangano added, "While competitors may be able to report Quality of Service (QoS) stats that tell you 'Yes or No' there was a problem, it's really like finding a 'needle in a haystack' for you to then correlate a problem down to the service affecting device or application that caused the issue.