- the act or practice of biting one's fingernails, especially as the result of anxiety or nervousness.
- Informal. nervousness: The announcement that the trade agreement had been signed ended a week of nail-biting on Wall Street.
- Informal. causing nervousness: The nail-biting part of the canoe trip was through the stretches of white water.
Origin of nail-biting
First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for nail-biting
During the nail-biting 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Obama was in it to win it.John Boehner’s Holiday Photo Snub & More Petty Political Moments
December 5, 2012
There are moments of exultation and frustration, of nail-biting anxiety, and the normal banter that characterizes any workplace.JFK’s Secret White House Recordings Unveiled
September 25, 2012
A sports movie and a redemption story and a drug movie and a nail-biting tale of success!Lights, Camera, Cocktails
September 17, 2011
Four years ago, a billion people watched as the World Cup final was decided by the nail-biting process and Italy edged France.World Cup Primer
June 12, 2010
Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers trilogy comes to a nail-biting conclusion with The Reckoning.Spring's Big YA Books
March 18, 2010
- the act or habit of biting one's fingernails
- anxiety or tension
- (as modifier)nail-biting suspense
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012