From Middle English nail, nayl, Old English næġl, from Proto-West Germanic *nagl, from Proto-Germanic *naglaz, from Proto-Indo-European *h₃nogʰ- (“nail”).
Compare Saterland Frisian Nail (“nail”), West Frisian neil, Low German Nagel, Dutch nagel, German Nagel, Danish negl, Swedish nagel), (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:
- 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 (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
- nail-biting, nailbiting (adjective)
- on the nail
- rother nail
- rusty nail
- sixpenny nail
- sixteenpenny nail
- soil nail
- spit nails
- straw nail
- tenpenny nail
- tooth and nail, tooth-and-nail
- twelvepenny nail
on fingers and toes
spike-shaped metal fastener used for joining wood or similar materials
one of the four round pedestals (the nails) in Bristol
archaic English unit of length
From Middle English naylen, from Old English næġlan.
nail (third-person singular simple present nails, present participle nailing, simple past and past participle nailed)
- (transitive) To fix (an object) to another object using a nail.
- Coordinate terms: pin, rivet, screw; see also Thesaurus:join
- He nailed the placard to the post.
- (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.
- 1700, [John] Dryden, “The Flower and the Leaf: Or, The Lady in the Arbour. A Vision.”, in Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], →OCLC:
- The rivets of their arms were nail'd with gold.
- (slang) To catch.
- Synonyms: arrest, collar, nick; see also Thesaurus:capture
- 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.
- Synonyms: dick, pound, rail, screw; see also Thesaurus:copulate 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.
- 1999, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, “Da Boom”, in Family Guy, season 2, episode 3, spoken by Brian Griffin (Seth MacFarlane):
- There’s a benefit gala at the Boston Pops tonight, and... well, I’m trying to nail the flautist.
- (military) To spike, as a cannon.
- 1598, Robert Barret, he Theorike and Practike of Modern Warres:
- That the Ordinance be not nayled, nor the munition fiered.
- (transitive) To nail down: to make certain, or confirm.
employ a nail as a fastener
accomplish something completely and successfully
hit a target effectively with some weapon
engage in sexual intercourse
- Wikipedia disambiguation page on both meanings of nail
- Wikipedia disambiguation page on spike
- Nail in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition, 1911)
- Alternative form of nayl
- (Hà Nội) IPA(key): [new˧˧]
- (Huế) IPA(key): [new˧˧]
- (Hồ Chí Minh City) IPA(key): [new˧˧]
- Phonetic: nêu
- Homophone: nêu
- làm nail ― perform nailcare
- nghề nail ― nailcare as a profession
- 2022, T.TH, “Kình ngư Nguyễn Hữu Kim Sơn chọn ĐH Duy Tân làm bến đỗ”, in Tuổi trẻ online:
- Hiện tại ba em đang quản lý một nhà hàng cùng một tiệm nail khá lớn ở Mỹ, do chính ba mở ra.
- My father currently manages a restaurant and a rather large nail salon in America, which he opened himself.
- Nasal mutation of dail.
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.|