thread the needle

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thread the needle (third-person singular simple present threads the needle, present participle threading the needle, simple past and past participle threaded the needle)

  1. (idiomatic) To find harmony or strike a balance between conflicting forces, interests, etc. Normally used to indicate the difficulty of doing so; also, sarcastically, for a failed attempt.
    • 2010, James C. Foster, Bong Hits 4 Jesus: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska's Capital, University of Alaska Press (2010), →ISBN, page 215:
      Were I writing for the Court, I would seek to thread the needle between acknowledging Principal Morse's authority, on the one hand, while respecting student Frederick's rights, on the other.


For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:thread the needle.


thread the needle (uncountable)

  1. A game in which children stand in a row, joining hands, and in which the outer one, still holding his neighbour, runs between the others.