“Buscar una aguja en un pajar”

Do you want to know how to say ‘search a needle in a haystack’ in spanish? Why do we say «buscar una aguja en un pajar»? This phrase is a common Spanish expression that translates to «searching for a needle in a haystack» in English. It is used figuratively to describe a situation or task that is extremely difficult, challenging, or nearly impossible due to the overwhelming amount of information or options.

Imagine how hard is to find a needle in a haystack

Obviously, the origin of this expression can be traced back to the difficulty of finding a small needle within a large haystack. The haystack represents a large and disorganized mass, making it extremely challenging to locate the small and inconspicuous needle hidden within it. Hence, people adopted this phrase to metaphorically describe situations where finding something or someone amidst a vast amount of possibilities or clutter is highly improbable or requires significant effort.

For instance, you could use it when:

Finding a specific line of code in a large and unorganized computer program: Imagine trying to locate a specific line of code or a small bug in a massive software project with thousands of files and millions of lines of code.

Locating a lost item in a cluttered and messy room: When you misplace a small item like a key or a piece of jewelry in a room filled with various objects, it can be an incredibly daunting task to find it.

Identifying a specific individual in a crowded and unfamiliar place: Let’s say you have to find a friend in a busy concert venue or a bustling airport terminal, but you don’t have any precise information about their location.


Safe to use in all contexts


Not new, not old

Vulgar / Formal

More formal than colloquial

Literal translation

“Search a needle in a haystack”


Easier ways to express same idea

“Esto es casi imposible”

“Es muy difícil”

Native score

This one will make you look like a native spanish speaker

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