nail

[ neyl ]
/ neɪl /

noun

verb (used with object)

Verb Phrases

nail down, to make final; settle once and for all: Signing the contract will nail down our agreement.

Idioms

Origin of nail

before 900; (noun) Middle English nail(l), nayl(l), Old English nægl, cognate with Old Frisian neil, Old Saxon, Old High German nagal, Dutch nagel, German Nagel, Old Norse nagl fingernail, all < Germanic *naglaz; akin as derivative to Lithuanian nãgas, nagà hoof, OPruss nage foot, OCS noga leg, foot (Serbo-Croatian nòga, Czech noha, Russian nogá; probably orig. jocular reference to the foot as a hoof), OCS nogŭtĭ, Tocharian A maku, B mekwa fingernail, claw, all < North European Indo-European *Honogwh-; further akin to Old Irish ingen, Welsh ewin, Breton ivin < Celtic *ṇgwhīnā, Latin unguis < Italo-Celtic *Hongwhi-; Greek ónyx, stem onych-, Armenian ełungn < *Honogwh-; (v.) Middle English nail(l)(e), nayl(l)e(n), Old English næglian, cognate with Old Saxon neglian, Old High German negilen, Old Norse negla < Germanic *nagl-janan; compare Gothic ganagljan

Related forms

nail·less, adjectivenail·like, adjectivere·nail, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for nail down (1 of 2)

nail down


verb (tr, adverb)

to fasten down with or as if with nails
informal to extort a definite promise or consent fromI nailed him down on the deadline
informal to settle in a definite waythey nailed down the agreement

British Dictionary definitions for nail down (2 of 2)

nail

/ (neɪl) /

noun

verb (tr)

See also nail down, nail up

Derived Forms

nailer, nounnail-less, adjective

Word Origin for nail

Old English nǣgl; related to Old High German nagal nail, Latin unguis fingernail, claw, Greek onux
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

Medicine definitions for nail down

nail

[ nāl ]

n.

A fingernail or toenail.
A slender rod used in operations to fasten together the divided extremities of a broken bone.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with nail down (1 of 2)

nail down


Establish conclusively, as in The reporter nailed down the story by checking all the facts. This metaphoric expression alludes to fixing or fastening something down with nails. [c. 1600]

Idioms and Phrases with nail down (2 of 2)

nail


In addition to the idioms beginning with nail

  • nail down
  • nail in one's coffin

also see:

  • 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.