on pins and needles, to be(redirected from to be on pins and needles)
be on pins and needles
To be anxious and tense. The phrase likely derived from the tingling sensation (called "pins and needles") that occurs when blood flow returns to a numb limb. A: "Why is Carrie pacing?" B: "She's waiting for the doctor to call with her test results, so she's been on pins and needles all day."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
on pins and needles, to be
To be extremely nervous or uneasy; in suspense. The image is as clear as that of a cat on a hot tin roof. Robert Louis Stevenson appears to have been the first to use it metaphorically, in St. Ives (1897): “He was plainly on pins and needles.” It was a cliché by the mid-twentieth century. See also on tenterhooks.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer