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

Your bug-like protagonist starts off almost comically underpowered, with a sword-like nail and a floaty jump as his only protection against all manners of insectoid beasts. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Sally Hansen, the popular drugstore nail polish brand, faced backlash and a solid week of pressure from customers on social media in March. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The biggest beauty trend in 2018? Makeup brands behaving badly," 18 Dec. 2018 If you’re pressed for time, hydrate bare nails with a hand cream or cuticle oil and hit with a four-sided buffer to achieve a smooth, even surface. Sarah Ferguson, Marie Claire, "3 Spots You're Forgetting About When Getting Ready," 11 Dec. 2018 The future industrialist left school at 17 to run his family’s nail-making business. Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Belgian Billionaire Was a Quiet Force in Europe’s Boardrooms," 7 Dec. 2018 And never associate your recall word with an unpleasant activity for your dog, like nail trimming or bathing. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "This Abandoned Shelter Dog Rescued the Missing Son of Her Former Trainer," 20 Nov. 2018 In home kitchens and in hospitals, Steyn suspended spider webs by a string attached to a nail. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Nail brush: Even the cleanest of campers get dirt under their fingernails, so opt for a nail brush ($5.49 for a pack of four)—it’s especially helpful when traveling with the kiddos. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 But Dash forward Thembi Kgatlana put the nail in the coffin in additional time. Parth Upadhyaya, Houston Chronicle, "Rachel Daly's brace carries Dash over Pride," 12 July 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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Dictionary Entries near nail

naig

naik

Naikpod

nail

nailability

nail apron

nail bed

Statistics for nail

Last Updated

9 Jan 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)

: 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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