From Middle English nail, nayl, Old English næġl, from Proto-Germanic *naglaz (compare Saterland Frisian Nail (“nail”), West Frisian neil, Low German Nagel, Dutch nagel, German Nagel, Danish negl, Swedish nagel), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃nogʰ- (“nail”) (compare Irish ionga, Latin unguis, Albanian nyell (“ankle, hard part of a limb”), Lithuanian nagas, Russian нога́ (nogá, “foot, leg”), но́готь (nógotʹ, “nail”), Ancient Greek ὄνυξ (ónux), Persian ناخن (nâxon), Sanskrit नख (nakhá)).
nail (plural nails)
- The thin, horny plate at the ends of fingers and toes on humans and some other animals.
- When I'm nervous I bite my nails.
- The basal thickened portion of the anterior wings of certain hemiptera.
- The terminal horny plate on the beak of ducks, and other allied birds.
- The claw of a bird or other animal.
- A spike-shaped metal fastener used for joining wood or similar materials. The nail is generally driven through two or more layers of material by means of impacts from a hammer or other device. It is then held in place by friction.
- 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter II, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175:
- Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. Indeed, a nail filed sharp is not of much avail as an arrowhead; you must have it barbed, and that was a little beyond our skill.
- A round pedestal on which merchants once carried out their business, such as the four nails outside The Exchange, Bristol.
- An archaic English unit of length equivalent to 1⁄20 of an ell or 1⁄16 of a yard (2 1⁄4 inches or 5.715 cm).
- common nail
- cut nail
- door nail, doornail
- duplex nail
- eightpenny nail
- final nail in the coffin
- fourpenny nail
- garden nail
- hard as nails
- hit the nail on the head
- last nail in the coffin
- lath nail
- nail ball
- nail bar
- nail bat
- nail bed, nailbed
- nail-biting, nailbiting (adjective)
- nail biting, nailbiting (noun)
- nail bomb
- nail clipper
- nail cutter
- nail file, nail-file, nailfile
- nail fungus
- nail house
- nail knot
- nail plate
- nail polish
- nail punch
- nail rod
- nail scissors
- nail set
- nail sick
- nail sickness
- nail technician
- nail trimmer
- nail varnish
- nail violin
- on the nail
- rother nail
- rusty nail
- sixpenny nail
- sixteenpenny nail
- spit nails
- straw nail
- tenpenny nail
- tooth and nail, tooth-and-nail
- twelvepenny nail
- (transitive) To fix (an object) to another object using a nail.
- (intransitive) To drive a nail.
- Synonym: hammer
- He used the ax head for nailing.
- (transitive) To stud or boss with nails, or as if with nails.
- (slang) To catch.
- 1765, “A Song in High Life”, in The Merry Medley, volume 1, London: W. Hoggard, page 35:
- I pray you now send me some dub, / A bottle or two to the needy. / I beg you won't bring it yourself, / The harman is at the Old-Bailey; / I'd rather you'd send it behalf, / For, if they twig you they'll nail you.
- 1993, Peter M. Lenkov; Robert Reneau; Daniel Waters, Demolition Man, spoken by Captain Healy (Steve Kahan):
- Dammit, John, I'm tired of this 'Demolition Man' stuff! […] Now, I know you've been trying to nail this psycho for two years, but try remembering a little thing called official police procedure.
- (transitive, slang) To expose as a sham.
- (transitive, slang) To accomplish (a task) completely and successfully.
- (transitive, slang) To hit (a target) effectively with some weapon.
- 2011 October 1, Tom Fordyce, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 16-12 Scotland”, in BBC Sport:
- Fly-half Ruaridh Jackson departed early with injury but Chris Paterson nailed a penalty from wide out left to give Scotland an early lead, and Jackson's replacement Dan Parks added three more points with a penalty which skimmed over the crossbar.
- (transitive, vulgar, slang) Of a male, to engage in sexual intercourse with.
- 1985, John Hughes, The Breakfast Club:
- Allison Reynolds: I'm a nymphomaniac. […] The only person I told was my shrink. / Andrew Clark: And what did he do when you told him? / Allison Reynolds: He nailed me.
- To spike, as a cannon.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Crabb to this entry?)
- (transitive) To nail down: to make certain, or confirm.
- Wikipedia disambiguation page on both meanings of nail
- Wikipedia disambiguation page on spike
- Nail in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition, 1911)
- Alternative form of
- Nasal mutation of .
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every|
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.