needle in a haystack, (like finding) a

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. © 2015 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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