nail

noun
\ˈnāl \

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

The fact that anyone trusts this man with nails and hammers is a wonder. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Red Dead Redemption 2 player reveals the surprisingly complex lives of NPCs," 10 Nov. 2018 Always fashion forward, Griffith Joyner revolutionized the look of women’s competitive sports designing many of her looks herself and wearing her dramatic signature beauty accessories of four-inch nails, bright red lips, and long flowing hair. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z Champion Black Power Legends on Halloween," 1 Nov. 2018 There was only a vast sea of debris: wooden beams filled with nails, shattered toilets and glass, concrete rubble, uprooted trees, twisted power transformers. Todd Pitman, Fox News, "AP WAS THERE: 2013 typhoon kills thousands in Philippines," 15 Sep. 2018 An unsuccessful squeeze with slightly too-long nails left a small scab on my chin that felt enormous to me. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, Glamour, "The No-Frills Face Cream That Tackles the Toughest Dry Spots," 27 Aug. 2018 Johnson's Will Sawyer is tough as nails, using brute force, blunt instruments and plenty of duct tape to rescue his family from a burning building. Katie Walsh, chicagotribune.com, "'Skyscraper' review: Dwayne Johnson shows off his dramatic acting chops," 11 July 2018 Long was sociable but still tough as nails, Jennings said. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "How Jeff Long — introduced as new AD Wednesday — impressed KU’s search committee," 11 July 2018 Position particle board furniture so that its weight rests on the head of fasteners such as nails and screws, Van Haaren says. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "8 Tips to Help You Move Like a Pro," 11 July 2018 Next door, a warehouse stands full of boxes of nails. NBC News, "Trump's trade war might close down America's last nail factory — but workers remain diehard Trump fans," 29 June 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

11 Dec 2018

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)

: 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 \

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 \

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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