Word of the Day: nail

 
 
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Word of the Day
 
March 14, 2016
 
nail (noun, verb)
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Painted fingernails
 
As a noun, a nail is the hard cover on the tip of each of our fingers and toes, as well as a thin piece of metal with a pointed end used to connect things to a wall or to each other. As a verb, nail means not only 'to fasten or connect something with a nail,' but also, as slang, 'to arrest or catch a criminal' or 'to achieve something with great success.'

 

Example sentences

 

I need to cut my nails; they're getting too long!
Helen hammered a nail into the wall so she could hang the picture.
Eugene nailed two pieces of wood together.
After a car chase, the police finally nailed the bank robbers.
I'm sure Patricia will have nailed the exam; she's worked so hard.

 

Words often used with nail
 
nailed it!: an interjection used to say you have successfully achieved something. Example: "How did your job interview go?" "Nailed it! I start on Monday."
 
Multi-word forms
 
fight tooth and nail: an expression used figuratively to mean you will do everything in your power to achieve or combat something: Example: "The MP fought tooth and nail to get the new law accepted." "The residents fought tooth and nail against the plans for the new road."
on the nail: immediately. Example: "The seller wanted to be paid cash on the nail."
hit the nail on the head: get something exactly right or understand something correctly. Example: "When you said my problem might be an allergy, you hit the nail on the head; that's exactly what it turned out to be."
the final nail (in the coffin): the last in a series of misfortunes leading to someone or something's downfall. Example: "When his van broke down, that was the final nail in the coffin for Alan's delivery business."
fingernail: a nail on your finger
toenail: a nail on your toe
 
Did you know?
 
As a slang term, nail someone can mean 'to have sexual intercourse with that person.' It is normally said of a man having sexual intercourse with a woman. You may hear this a lot in movies and on TV, but it is generally considered demeaning and offensive to talk about someone like this.
 
Other forms
 
nailless (adjective)
 
Origin
 
Nail dates back to before 900 and comes from the Middle English word nail(l) or nayl(l) and the Old English word nægl; it is similar to the Old Frisian word neil, the Old Saxon and Old High German word nagal, the Dutch word nagel, the German word Nagel, and the Old Norse word nagl, meaning 'fingernail,' all of which have existed since before 900.
 
 
 
 
 
Nail in other languages
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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