a slender, typically rod-shaped rigid piece of metal, usually in any of numerous standard lengths from a fraction of an inch to several inches and having one end pointed and the other enlarged and flattened, for hammering into or through wood, other building materials, etc., as used in building, in fastening, or in holding separate pieces together.
a thin, horny plate, consisting of modified epidermis, growing on the upper side of the end of a finger or toe.
a former measure of length for cloth, equal to 2.25 inches (5.7 centimeters).
to fasten with a nail or nails: to nail the cover on a box.
to enclose or confine (something) by nailing (often followed by up): to nail up oranges in a crate.
to make fast or keep firmly in one place or position: Surprise nailed him to the spot.
to accomplish perfectly: the only gymnast to nail the dismount.
to secure by prompt action; catch or seize: The police nailed him with the goods.
to catch (a person) in some difficulty, lie, etc.
to detect and expose (a lie, scandal, etc.).
Slang. to hit (a person): He nailed him on the chin with an uppercut in the first round.
to focus intently on an object or subject: She kept her eyes nailed on the suspicious customer.
Obsolete. to stud with or as if with nails.
nail down, to make final; settle once and for all: Signing the contract will nail down our agreement.
Idioms about nail
hit the nail on the head, to say or do exactly the right thing; be accurate or correct: Your analysis really hit the nail on the head.
nail in someone's / something's coffin, something that hastens the demise or failure of a person or thing: Every moment's delay is another nail in his coffin.
on the nail, Informal.
of present interest; under discussion.
without delay; on the spot; at once: He was offered a job on the nail.
- nailless, adjective
- naillike, adjective
- re·nail, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use nail in a sentence
This attributes to those awful side effects including hair loss, darkening of finger nails, etc.The Anatomy Of A Breast Cancer Survivor: ‘Early Detection Saved My Life’ | Charli Penn | October 6, 2020 | Essence.com
Her red lip and nail combination really helped me get into character-it was classic old Hollywood glam.Here’s The Beauty Routine Behind Laura Harrier’s Flawless Skin | Allison McGevna | October 5, 2020 | Essence.com
Air- and heat-activated polish sealant as well as UV-cured gels, standard tools in the nail professional’s arsenal, also owe their origins to this former dentist.
Chicago dentist Maxwell Lappe had created an artificial fingernail for nail biters called Nu Nails in 1934.
Here we are 10 years later, and they have not even gotten to all of them, and the ones they have gotten to, the industry has fought tooth and nail.Gas explosions keep killing people, and the US government won’t step in | By Jeremy Deaton/Nexus Media News | September 29, 2020 | Popular-Science
But on Tuesday, we saw another nail hammered into the already pretty tightly nailed down coffin of the two-state solution.In the Middle East, the Two-State Solution Is Dead | Dean Obeidallah | January 2, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The CID speculated that the woman was confirming who lived there before planting a homemade nail bomb.Abu Dhabi Treats U.S. Teacher’s Murder as Terrorist Attack | Chris Allbritton | December 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
MOSCOW—Every now and then I run into Anna Chapman at a nail salon called “Little Fingers” on Potapovsky Avenue in downtown Moscow.
Along the way, he accidentally embeds a nail in his foot, which is not symbolic at all.The Walking Dead’s ‘Crossed’: The Stage Is Now Set for a Bloody, Deadly Midseason Finale | Melissa Leon | November 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The phrase means, “the nail that sticks out always gets hit by a hammer.”Sor Juana: Mexico’s Most Erotic Poet and Its Most Dangerous Nun | Katie Baker | November 8, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Piegan snorted when I told him we were on the dodge—that they were trying to nail us for holding up the paymaster.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
"Well, as far as public opinion goes, I s'pose Tom has hit the nail on the head," observed Bill.Mystery Ranch | Arthur Chapman
He pulled his heavy sweater down off a nail and put it on, scowling because the sleeves had to be pulled in place on his arms.Cabin Fever | B. M. Bower
He disliked the look of Cash's rough coat and sweater and cap, that hung on a nail over Cash's bunk.Cabin Fever | B. M. Bower
You,” said I. “You drive a nail as if it were an abstruse problem in differential calculus.The Idyl of Twin Fires | Walter Prichard Eaton
British Dictionary definitions for nail
a fastening device usually made from round or oval wire, having a point at one end and a head at the other
anything resembling such a fastening device, esp in function or shape
the claw of a mammal, bird, or reptile
slang a hypodermic needle, used for injecting drugs
a unit of length, formerly used for measuring cloth, equal to two and a quarter inches
a nail in one's coffin an experience or event that tends to shorten life or hasten the end of something
bite one's nails
to chew off the ends of one's fingernails
to be worried or apprehensive
hard as nails
in tough physical condition
without sentiment or feelings
hit the nail on the head to do or say something correct or telling
on the nail (of payments) at once (esp in the phrase pay on the nail)
to attach with or as if with nails
informal to arrest or seize
informal to hit or bring down, as with a shot: I nailed the sniper
informal to expose or detect (a lie or liar)
to fix or focus (one's eyes, attention, etc) on an object
to stud with nails
- nailer, noun
- nail-less, adjective
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with nail
In addition to the idioms beginning with nail
- nail down
- nail in one's coffin
- bite one's nails
- fight tooth and nail
- hard as nails
- hit the bull's-eye (nail on the head)
- on the nail
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.