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 downnail 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 Here’s a breakdown of TCU’s 2020 class: Head of the class: Quentin Johnston, WR Sometimes the recruiting rankings hit the nail on the head. Dallas News, "Breaking down TCU’s 2020 recruiting class: Horned Frogs’ best signee, diamond in the rough, and overall grade," 5 Feb. 2020 Park, the founder of Unistella nail salon in South Korea, took to Instagram last week with a cryptic teaser. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Unistella's Cheese Nail Art Is Just As Cute As You’d Imagine," 27 Jan. 2020 The country star, who is expecting her first child — a baby boy — with husband Ryan Hurd in March, shared a funny anecdote from her recent outing at a nail salon. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Pregnant Maren Morris Jokes About Her Third Trimester Hormones: 'I Genuinely Teared Up'," 16 Jan. 2020 An underground level will host two private screening rooms, as well as a spa and gym, pool, nail salon, and barbershop. Chadner Navarro, Fortune, "2020’s Most Anticipated Hotel Openings," 1 Jan. 2020 Disturbance: Richmond Road The staff of a nail salon at the Richmond Town Square Mall reported Nov. 21 that a woman had paid only $10 for services and pushed past an employee to leave the business. cleveland, "Woman’s car stolen after she leaves it running with keys inside: Richmond Heights Police Blotter," 27 Nov. 2019 Tucked away in Tokyo’s trendiest fashion district—two floors above a pricey French patisserie, and alongside nail salons and jewelers—the clinicians at Helene Clinic are infusing people with stem cells to treat cardiovascular disease. David Cyranoski, Scientific American, "Stem Cells 2 Go," 14 Nov. 2019 Ruth Camacho, 26, manages a nail salon and takes GED classes through Rio Salado College. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey allocates $500,000 to reduce adult education waitlist," 31 Oct. 2019 Nimmo said that, apart from the shooting, Huynh had led a crime-free life and afterward, married and ran a string of nail salon businesses around the county. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Freeway shooter from 2000 killing gets 50 to life in prison — again," 13 Sep. 2019 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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Time Traveler for nail

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for nail

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nail. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for nail

nail

noun
How to pronounce nail (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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