nail-biter

or nail bit·er

[neyl-bahy-ter]

noun

a person who bites his or her nails, especially habitually.
a situation marked by anxiety or tension.

Origin of nail-biter

1970–75
Related formsnail-bit·ing, noun

nail-biting

[neyl-bahy-ting]

noun

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.

adjective

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
Related formsnail-bit·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for nailbiter

nailbiter

noun

a person who bites his or her nails
a person who is anxious or tense
something that causes anxiety or tension

nail-biting

noun

the act or habit of biting one's fingernails
  1. anxiety or tension
  2. (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