- a small piece of partly detached skin at the side or base of the fingernail.
Origin of hangnail
Examples from the Web for hangnail
Historical Examples of hangnail
But it did matter to me that I had to dine on this hangnail pared from a sheep.Eating in Two or Three Languages
Irvin S. Cobb
- a piece of skin torn away from, but still attached to, the base or side of a fingernail
Word Origin for hangnail
also hang-nail, 1670s, apparently from hang (v.) + (finger) nail, but probably folk etymology from Old English agnail "a corn on the foot, painful spike (in the flesh)" from Proto-Germanic *ang- "compressed, hard, painful" (from PIE *angh- "tight, painfully constricted, painful;" see anger) + Old English nægl "spike" (see nail (n.)).
- A small piece of dead skin at the side or the base of a fingernail that is partly detached from the rest of the skin.