on the nail


1

Immediately, without delay, as in He paid us back on the nail. [c. 1600]

2

Under discussion or consideration, as in The subject of the budget deficit has been on the nail for some time. [Late 1800s] The precise allusion in these expressions has been lost. Neither has any connection to hit the nail on the head (see under hit the bull's-eye).

QUIZZES

BECOME A PRO CHEF WITH THIS EXQUISITE CUISINE QUIZ!

Even if you can't be a professional chef, you can at least talk like one with this vocabulary quiz.
Question 1 of 9
You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.