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

The seemingly indiscriminate violence of their crimes, along with the nail-biting cat-and-mouse game between the teenagers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has shocked Canada, which prides itself on its sensible gun laws and liberal humanism. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Hometown of Canadian Teenage Murder Suspects Grapples With Infamy," 13 Aug. 2019 Algeria bested Nigeria, 2-1, to advance to the final, while Senegal beat Tunisia, 1-0, in a nail-biting overtime win Sunday. Claire Parker, Washington Post, "Algeria has dominated in the Africa Cup soccer tournament. The French far right has a problem with that.," 14 July 2019 That would be a nail-biting decision for a Rockies front office committed to grassroots team building. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Saunders: Rockies’ playoff hopes rest on acquiring veteran starting pitcher," 13 July 2019 Alonso showed some dramatic flair with two nail-biting wins to reach the final against Guerrero. chicagotribune.com, "Mets’ Pete Alonso outduels fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to win Home Run Derby," 8 July 2019 Michael Phelps at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in his nail-biting 100-meter butterfly victory. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Depth of Field: Alex Morgan and the Politics of Women in Celebration," 4 July 2019 These are some of the threads woven into this sound-rich, nail-biting fictional narrative written by Aaron Mark. Paige Hymson, latimes.com, "Play Next: From print to podcasts," 2 July 2019 Two nail-biting quarter finals took place in the Copa America as both Chile and Colombia's game and Uruguay and Peru's encounter went the distance after respective 0-0 stalemates. SI.com, "Copa America Roundup: Peru & Chile Prevail on Penalties as Colombia & Uruguay Bow Out," 30 June 2019 Both teams scored single runs in the seventh (7-4 Brooklyn lead), setting up the nail-biting finish in the ninth. Randy Mcroberts, baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen slips below .500 for first time this season," 27 June 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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Learn More about nail

Dictionary Entries near nail

naig

naik

Naikpod

nail

nailability

nail apron

nail bed

Statistics for nail

Last Updated

4 Sep 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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