nail

noun
\ ˈnāl How to pronounce nail (audio) \

Definition of nail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a horny sheath protecting the upper end of each finger and toe of humans and most other primates
b : a structure (such as a claw) that terminates a digit and corresponds to a nail
2 : a slender usually pointed and headed fastener designed to be pounded in

nail

verb
nailed; nailing; nails

Definition of nail (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to fasten with or as if with a nail
2 : to fix in steady attention nailed his eye on the crack
3a : catch, trap
b : to expose usually so as to discredit
c : to arrest or punish for an offense
4a : to hit or strike in a forceful manner : whack sense 1a nailed the ball nailed him on the head with a rock
b : to put out (a runner) in baseball
5 : to perform or complete perfectly or impressively nailed a jump shot
6 : to gain or win decisively often used with down nail down their consent
7 : to settle, establish, or represent clearly and unmistakably often used with down
8 usually vulgar : to copulate with

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Other Words from nail

Verb

nailer noun

Examples of nail in a Sentence

Noun

a hammer and some nails I get my nails done at the beauty salon every other week. a pair of nail clippers

Verb

Nail the picture to the wall. All the doors were nailed shut. He got nailed by his parents while trying to sneak out of the house. He got nailed for not paying his taxes. The FBI has nailed the hackers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lip+hoops were inspired by Sonia Sotomayor, who was advised to wear neutral-colored nail polish to her confirmation hearings to avoid scrutiny. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Political Fashion Doesn’t Look Like Veep—But Maybe It Should," 1 Apr. 2019 Of course, there are matching nail polishes for Rams fans out there too. Marci Robin, Good Housekeeping, "13 Best Nail Art Ideas for Super Bowl LIII," 22 Jan. 2019 Livestock ingesting metal is a common phenomenon— roughly 55 to 75 percent of the cattle slaughtered in the eastern United States alone have digested pieces of metal, whether that's a nail, a piece of wire, or something more. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What If Animal Feces Could Be Recycled for Metals and Valuable Elements?," 29 Nov. 2018 The first 1000 times didn’t work, but your version was the final nail. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump's Meeting with Vladimir Putin Sparked Homophobic Jokes, and Critics Called It Out," 16 July 2018 With a narrative form that has something of the beauty and rippling reach of epic poetry, Massini uses his family saga to craft a parable of what, arguably, has been the final nail in the coffin of the American Dream. Demetrios Matheou, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lehman Trilogy': Theater Review," 13 July 2018 While Sanford had already expressed reservations at his chances of winning, Trump’s tweet appeared to be the nail in his coffin. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "The Power of a Trump Tweet: Mark Sanford Defeated in Primary After President's Last-Minute Twitter Attack," 13 June 2018 And then came the Chrysler minivan, introduced the year before my encounter with Mr. North, which was the final nail in the coffin of station wagons. Ed Wallace, star-telegram, "The Future is Now," 8 June 2018 The scandal was a nail in Meehan's political coffin. CBS News, "GOP congressman who called aide "soulmate" resigns," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But so was the dialogue, and this is where Cerda really nails it. Nina Metz, chicagotribune.com, "Campy 'Golden Girls' spoof misses the mark," 20 June 2017 Marist coach Colleen Biebel also sent Garofalo, who was nailed at home on a perfect relay throw from Barrington shortstop Julia Kozar. Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown, "Angela Zedak, Marist look ahead after losing in Class 4A third-place game," 10 June 2017 And making sure Johnson nailed all those backing vocals. Matt Wake, AL.com, "Aerosmith's secret weapon: Alabama native on tour with rock legends," 9 June 2017 Some houses had bathtubs, mirrors, furniture, crosses nailed to the wall. Washington Post, "Blighted Baltimore homes are razed, along with some memories," 5 June 2017 By nailing down Chance as the festival’s finale, before even his star-making turn at this year’s Grammy Awards, Sasquatch! grabbed one of this year’s marquee live acts for their youthful audience. Charles R. Cross, The Seattle Times, "In an area bloated with festivals, Sasquatch! still stands out," 24 May 2017 Why does Apple nail what channel the Cavs game is on but Google does not? Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "20 Questions With Google's Assistant and Apple's Siri," 18 May 2017 Finally, in 2011, Shell and Eni paid the government $1.3 billion, including about $200 million as a signature bonus -- a onetime fee charged by some oil-producing nations -- to nail down the contract once and for all. Chiara Albanese, Bloomberg.com, "How Shell, Eni Got Enmeshed in $1 Billion Scandal: QuickTake Q&A," 9 May 2017 How could anyone nail both the keys and the rhythms with perfect accuracy? David Pogue, Scientific American, "Should Artists Reveal How Much They Let Technology Make Creative Choices?," 3 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nail

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nail

Noun

Middle English, from Old English nægl; akin to Old High German nagal nail, fingernail, Latin unguis fingernail, toenail, claw, Greek onyx

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Learn More about nail

Dictionary Entries near nail

naig

naik

Naikpod

nail

nailability

nail apron

nail bed

Statistics for nail

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nail

The first known use of nail was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for nail

nail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, thin piece of metal that is sharp at one end and flat at the other end and that is used chiefly to attach things to wood
: the hard covering at the end of a finger or toe : a fingernail or toenail

nail

verb

English Language Learners Definition of nail (Entry 2 of 2)

always followed by an adverb, adjective, or preposition : to attach (something) with a nail
: to catch (someone) doing something illegal or wrong
: to arrest or punish (someone) for doing something that is illegal or wrong

nail

noun
\ ˈnāl How to pronounce nail (audio) \

Kids Definition of nail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tough covering protecting the upper end of each finger and toe
2 : a slender pointed piece of metal driven into or through something for fastening

nail

verb
nailed; nailing

Kids Definition of nail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fasten with or as if with a nail

nail

noun
\ ˈnā(ə)l How to pronounce nail (audio) \

Medical Definition of nail

1 : a horny sheath of thickened and condensed epithelial stratum lucidum that grows out from a vascular matrix of dermis and protects the upper surface of the end of each finger and toe of humans and most other primates and that is strictly homologous with the hoof or claw of other mammals from which it differs chiefly in shape and size

called also nail plate

2 : a structure (as a claw) that terminates a digit and corresponds to a nail
3 : a rod (as of metal) used to fix the parts of a broken bone in normal relation a medullary nail

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More from Merriam-Webster on nail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nail

Spanish Central: Translation of nail

Nglish: Translation of nail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nail for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nail

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